As four French resorts – backed by the French government – are imposing municipal bans on the wearing of Muslim burkas – or “burkinis“- on their beaches, yesterday several full-length black burkas were in evidence on the beach on Barry Island.
The resorts of Cannes, Villeneuve-Loubet and Sisco (Corsica) have already imposed bans on burkas and Le Touquet is also introducing a ban. The French say the garment defies French laws on secularism – but there is no such ban in Britain.
Yesterday sunbathing holiday-makers looked on as, in brilliant sunshine and high temperatures, several family groups with pushchairs and young children arrived on the beach at Barry Island in which a number of adult women were clad head to foot in burkas or nicabs with their faces totally obscured.
Apart from France – where the burka ban is supported by the European Court of Human Rights – several other European countries have also imposed various bans on the burka, the niqab or the “burkini” – including Belgium, the Netherlands, some parts of Italy and Catalonia in Spain.
Burka wearing is tolerated in Australia but has been condemned there as being “an implicit slap in the face from one culture to another.” In the UK the well-known Muslim columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has called for a new British law banning the Burka, describing the garment as “a perversion of our faith” and a “dreadful garment”.
However in response to an on-line petition calling for a ban in Britain, the UK Government has said it “sees no need for measures restricting what people can wear in public places. We support the rights of individuals in keeping with Britain’s tradition of freedom and fairness.”