Burkini ban in Dutch city of Antwerp upheld in court

Burkini ban is non-discriminatory, the Dutch court ruled

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Dénes Albert

The court of appeal in Antwerp — one of Belgium’s five such courts — has ruled that the prohibition of burkinis in swimming pools is not discriminatory and that the Antwerp burkini prohibition may therefore remain in force. Two Muslim women had lodged complaints against the burkini ban, which has been deemed unjustified in the second instance, Dutch news portal Sceptr report s.
In urban Antwerp swimming pools it is mandatory to wear appropriate swimming clothes. In concrete terms, this means that men must wear a fitting swimsuit, women a bathing suit or bikini. The wearing of a burkini is therefore prohibited, but two Muslim women claimed this was a form of discrimination.
The first court that heard the case in Antwerp found the two Muslim women had no grounds for their case, but they then appealed, which was unsuccessful. Just like the first court, the Antwerp court of appeal ruled that there was no discrimination and that the current burkini prohibition may remain in force. The appeals court ruled that the prohibition on burkinis would help maintain hygiene and good order in the swimming pools. The women who lodged a complaint must also pay the court costs.
Although no European country has a blanket ban on burkinis, several local governments have banned them for either not qualifying them as swimwear or for being a vehicle for a political statement. France is the country with the most (over 20) local bans in burkinis, which came into force gradually since 2009 and sparked a heated political debate there. In 2016, then French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that the burkini was not a fashion statement but a confirmation of the enslavement of women.
“The burkini is not a new range of swimwear, a fashion. It is the expression of a political project, a counter-society, based notably on the enslavement of women,” Valls said at the time.
An opinion poll made at the same time showed that 64 percent of the French public supported the bans, while another 30 percent were indifferent.
The German city of Duisburg has taken a different approach. At the Niederrhein-Therme spa, women have actually been banned for wearing revealing bikinis due to “cultural sensitives” but burkinis are still allowed. In Duisburg, 43.3 percent of the population has a migrant background.


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