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The mayor of Cannes, France has recently outlawed the burqini from public beaches.

I'm an underwater diver. When I heard this news, I had no clue what a burqini looked like. I was quite stunned when I looked at the description[1][2]:

The full-length lycra suit with hijab head-covering is not too figure hugging to embarrass, but is tight enough to allow its wearer to swim freely.

The suit covers the whole body except the face, the hands and the feet, whilst being light enough to enable swimming. It looks rather like a full-length wetsuit with built-in hood, but somewhat looser and made of swimsuit material instead of neoprene.

Basically, it looks like a wetsuit. Divers use wetsuits all the time.

Does this mean wetsuits are now outlawed as well?

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Short answer : No, diving suits are ok.


Long answer :

Only ostensibly religious clothes are forbidden, both on the beach and in the water (this also forbids nuns and priests to go for a swim in their "professionnal" gear).

The arrêté says

"Une tenue de plage manifestant de manière ostentatoire une appartenance religieuse, alors que la France et les lieux de culte religieux sont actuellement la cible d’attaques terroristes, est de nature à créer des risques de troubles à l’ordre public (attroupements, échauffourées, etc.) qu’il est nécessaire de prévenir."

"L’accès aux plages et à la baignade est interdit à compter de la signature du présent arrêté jusqu’au 31 août 2016 à toute personne n’ayant pas une tenue correcte, respectueuse des bonnes mœurs et de la laïcité, respectant les règles d’hygiène et de sécurité des baignades adaptées au domaine public maritime."

"Le port de vêtements pendant la baignade ayant une connotation contraire à ces principes est également interdit. […] Toute infraction fera l’objet d’un procès-verbal et sera punie de l’amende de première catégorie, soit 38 euros."

Which roughtly tranlates to :

"Beachwear ostentatiously showing a religious affiliation, while France and places of religious worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is likely to create risks of disturbance to public order (crowds, scuffles, etc.) which have to be prevented."

"Access to beaches and swimming is prohibited from the signing of this Order until August 31, 2016 to any person not dressed in a proper way, respectful of morality and secularism, respecting the rules of health and safety of bathing suited to the maritime public domain."

"Wearing clothing with an opposite connotation to these principles while swimming is also prohibited. [...] Any offense will result in a ticket and shall be punished by a fine of the first category, 38 euros."

Source : Le Monde (in French)


For those who don't know, this is a burkini :

enter image description here

A google search shows many other variations of this type of beachwear (link). As you can see, there's little risk that a wetsuit would be mistaken for one.

  • I'm not fluent in English, please tell me if you see mistakes or mistranslations in this answer. – Babika Babaka Aug 17 '16 at 14:16
  • Your English is fine. I guess this means that orthodox Jews shouldn't be planning beach vacations in France, either. – phoog Aug 20 '16 at 8:22
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    @phoog For now these decrees have only be passed in a couple on towns, with mayors on the "right side of the political spectrum", and local policemen aren't all super-motivated to enforce it to the letter... If you want to plan beach vacations in France and be absolutely sure you won't get the 38 euros fine you'll have to avoid Cannes, or wait until after August 31, or leave the beach if someone pesters you (the fine isn't given immediately, only if you stay after a verbal warning). – Babika Babaka Aug 20 '16 at 18:09
  • @phoog I hope those dumb things get revoked soon -_-. There's a lot of hostile reactions to them here, and a few civil actions planned. – Babika Babaka Aug 20 '16 at 18:10

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