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French judge upholds burkini ban despite top court ruling

Contextualizing the burkini  bikini debate

A court on the French island of Corsica has upheld the burkini ban issued by a local mayor despite a higher court squashing it in Paris last month.

More than 100 police officers had to intervene to break up the fight.

Mayors had cited multiple reasons for the bans, including security after a string of Islamic extremist attacks, risk to public order, and France's strict rules on secularism in public life.

A ban on the wearing of burkinis on public beaches in the Corsican resort village of Sisco was upheld in court Tuesday, Sept. 6.

The court in Corsica ruled on Tuesday that the ban should be maintained because "strong emotions persist".

In his Huffington Post column, Valls offered an impassioned defence of France's secular values and the bans on the burqa and burkini, saying they were above all carried out in the name of gender equality.

What does French law say on secularism and religious clothing?

The burkini controversy reawakened the debate on the wearing of religious symbols in public in France, where a law banning face-covering clothing such as the burka was passed in 2010.

The article "paints an intolerable picture, because it is false, of France, the country of the Enlightenment and liberties", Mr Valls retorted in an opinion piece published online by the Huffington Post France. Valls, bafflingly, claimed that the quotes had all been collected at an event called a "decolonial summer camp", an event held in France in late August for religious and ethnic minorities to discuss discrimination and tactics to counter it.

One respondent said she was "afraid of having to wear a yellow crescent on my clothes one day, like the Star of David for Jews not so long ago". "Millions of citizens of the Muslim faith or culture respect their duties perfectly and fully enjoy their duties". The two women, wearing Muslim headscarves, "were stopped by two men, two brothers, who thought it wasn't right that their children are not allowed to wear emblems of their religion at school and yet these women could enter with their veils", said local prosecutor Eric Bouillard, confirming a report in the Corse-Matin newspaper.

Another said: "French Muslim women would be justified to request asylum in the United States. given how many persecutions we are subjected to". "One French term was used dozens of times: 'un combat, ' (a struggle) to live day to day", the article, by journalist Lillie Dremeaux, said.

Similar bans in a number of French coastal towns have been in place since August 19.