France's top administrative court affirmed Tuesday that the city of Grenoble could not allow women to wear the head-to-toe swimsuit known as the "burkini" at public swimming pools, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Council of State's decision upholds one made by a lower court last year after Grenoble's City Council acceded to demands levied by Muslim protesters, passing a law in May 2021 allowing the burkini to be worn at public pools.
In its opinion, the top court cited France's strict secularism rules known as "laicité," arguing that permitting the swimwear would undermine "the equal treatment of users so that the neutrality of the public service is compromised," according to CNN.
"Contrary to the claimed objective of the city of Grenoble," Grenoble's edict aimed "only to satisfy a demand of a religious nature," the Council of State added.
French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who championed the legislation, wrote on Twitter that the decision was a victory "for secularism, and above all for the whole Republic."
"The communitarianism of Éric Piolle, mayor of Grenoble, is definitively sanctioned by the Council of State, which confirms the suspension of the deliberated 'burkini' in the municipal council," a translation of Darmanin's statement read.
In 2004, France banned "conspicuous" religious symbols, including head scarves, yarmulkes and large crosses across the country's schools, CNN reported.
Full-faced Muslim veils known as niqab are not only banned in French schools but also all public spaces — including mass transit, parks and administrative buildings.
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