France allows Muslim women to wear burkinis in public pools 

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France has made a new rule for Muslim women, and the country allows Muslim women to wear burkinis or swimming costumes. Grenoble, the city of France, has permitted Muslim women to cover the whole body in pubic pools. 

On Monday, Members of the municipal council slightly approved the new rules during a meeting despite local political opposition. There were 29 votes favouring the new rule, with 27 councillors voting against it and two abstentions.   

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The Interior Ministry of France has stated that it will block the move, which contradicts French laws on secularism and the “neutrality of public service”.

But the mayor of Grenoble, Eric Piolle, has repeatedly argued that debate over burkinis is a “non-issue”.

Piolle has stated the change in swimming pool regulations — brought in before pools open in mid-June — aims to “remove aberrant clothing bans” and combat “injunctions on women’s bodies”.

From 1 June, Grenoble will relax its rules and allow women and men to swim topless or wear full-body swimming costumes for sun protection or religious beliefs.

The move has been backed by women’s rights activists in France, who have campaigned for people to “wear what they want” at swimming pools.

But MPs from the ruling En Marche party of President Emmanuel Macron have argued that Islamic veils go against France’s strict secular values, which separate state and religion.

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Opponents also argue that the burkini symbolises women’s oppression, similar to the full veil worn in some Muslim-majority countries. 

The right-wing president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes has threatened on Twitter to pull all regional funding to the city over the new rules.

The regional prefect of Isère had announced on Sunday that he would refer the council’s decision to the administrative court of Grenoble.

In Grenoble, the NGO Alliance Citoyenne has organised several recent stunts in the city’s swimming pools to support the new rules.

The group has also campaigned against France’s Football Federation, which bans the wearing of Islamic hijabs in competitions.

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