Archive for August 27th, 2016

France burkini ban: Mayors urged to heed court’s ruling

A Muslim woman wears a burkini, a swimsuit that leaves only the face, hands and feet exposed, as she swims in the Mediterranean Sea in Marseille, France, August 17, 2016.

About 30 French mayors have been urged to follow a court ruling which overturned a controversial burkini ban in a resort town.

France’s top administrative court suspended the ban in Villeneuve-Loubet on Friday on civil liberties grounds.

However, a number of mayors have said they will continue applying the bathing suit ban.

The human rights lawyer who brought Friday’s case has said he will take each town to court.

The ruling by the Council of State found that the ban in Villeneuve-Loubet “seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms”.

Town hall authorities in Nice and Frejus, as well as in the Corsican village of Sisco, have vowed to keep the bans in place.

Responding to the ruling, Villeneuve-Loubet’s Mayor, Lionnel Luca, said: “We need to decide if we want a smiley, friendly version of sharia law on our beaches or if we want the rules of the [French] Republic to be implemented.”

French PM Manual Valls wrote on Facebook in support of the bans, saying burkinis were “the affirmation of political Islam in the public space”.

A lawyer for the Council of State, Francois Molinie, told Le Monde newspaper that mayors of towns still imposing the ban could continue in the short term.

However, he said that they might then face legal action in administrative tribunals which would base their rulings on that of the higher court.

Burkinis were not mentioned by name in the bans, with the order simply saying beachwear must be respectful of good public manners and the principle of secularism.

Authorities had said that they were concerned about the public order implications of the religious clothing, especially after attacks in Nice and Paris carried out by people influenced by Islamist extremism.

But while opinion polls suggested most French people backed the bans, they ignited fierce debate in France and around the world, with Muslims saying they were being unfairly targeted.

Click below to read more:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37201888

 

Ritual or racism? Folk festival bans Morris dancers from ‘blacking up’

© Reuters

Morris dancers have been donning black face makeup since around the 16th century, but a folk festival in Shrewsbury has put an end to the age-old tradition. While many have praised the decision, others have called it “politically correct nonsense.”

This particular folk festival has taken place every year since 2006. But this year’s Morris dancers are facing a strict rule that wasn’t present in previous years.

“The festival has never wished to cause offense to any person and as such, from 2017, we will no longer book sides [acts] that use full face black makeup,” festival director Sandra Surtees said, according to the Telegraph.

Surtees admitted the festival found itself “caught between two sides of this opposing argument.”

“We have been approached by one group that has requested we no longer book sides that use full face black makeup and another that has asked us not to change our policy and to continue to book these sides,” she said.

Ultimately, the festival decided to ditch any Morris dancers who insisted on wearing black makeup – a move which has been praised by many, including local equality group Fairness, Respect, Equality Shropshire (Fresh), which contacted festival organizers after a complaint from a member of the public.

Read more below:

https://www.rt.com/uk/357286-morris-dancing-black-face/