France is under fire for a town’s ban on full-body Islamic swim suits known as “burkinis,” but a French prosecutor is insisting there is much more to the story that sparked the ban.
Nicolas Bessone, a Corsican prosecutor, told reporters Wednesday three Muslim brothers arrived on a French beach and attempted to “privatize it.” Furthermore, their wives were not dressed in a burkinis, according to Bessone, but were actually swimming in full burkas.
Bessone alleged the Muslim brothers put up a “No Entry” sign on the beach, and forced a couple already on the beach to leave, along with some children who were canoeing.
The brothers insulted anyone who got too close, and even pelted them with stones if they persisted in coming to close to their wives. Village witnesses reported the brothers were threatening people with harpoons and a baseball bat. France24 news reported a car was even set on fire.
The fight began to escalate between the brothers and local villagers, until local police arrived and arrested the brothers and two villagers for fighting.
“There was a gangster-style attempt to take over the beach,” Bessone said before admonishing the villagers. Bessone continued that the fighting was an “overreaction on the part of the villagers.”
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls supported the ban, saying the burkinis are not compatible with French values, and saying they represent “the enslavement of women.”
Lionnel Luca, the mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet, doubled down on the ban telling Agence France Presse, “In France, one does not come to the beach dressed to display one’s religious convictions, especially as they are false convictions that the religion does not demand.”
A local court in Nice upheld the Burkini ban on Saturday saying the ban was legal under the provision that people should not be “invoking their religious beliefs to skirt common rules regulating relations between public authorities and private individuals.”
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