The French debate over Islamic clothing is not a new one, and has been going on for years. Back in 2004, hijabs were banned from public schools along with other religious items of wear including Christian crosses and the Jewish kippa. Three years later, full-face Islamic veils were also banned from public places leading us to this summer where the burkini (swimwear that covers most of the female body) was barred in a number of French resort cities.
As Washington Post explains, “In some ways, the French situation is hard to understand for outsiders: The country considers religion a private matter and its concept of laïcité means that the country is officially secular.”
To catch you up, Washington Post provides a history of the burkini, and tries to put it all in context for you.