Majority in France against burqinis on beaches

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Majority in France against burqinis on beaches
The burqini ban in 30 French towns has provoked debate worldwide. Photo: AFP

Just under two thirds of French people (64 percent) are against the burqini being worn on beaches, a survey published on Thursday revealed.


Only six percent said they were in favour of the Islamic full-body swimsuit, while the remaining 30 percent of those surveyed were "indifferent".

The results come from a survey conducted by Ifop for French national Le Figaro, and show that "the beach isn't seen as a 'separate' public space, but is considered equivalent to the street," according to Jérôme Fourquet from the polling firm.

Fourquet said the results mirrored those of an opinion poll last April about the wearing of the veil or headscarf in the street, to which 63 percent were opposed.

However, the institute did not directly question people about whether they approved the ban of the burqini on French beaches, which has provoked global debate and will on Thursday be assessed in France's top administrative court, so it is possible that some people do not personally like the full-body swimsuit being worn, but are against seeing it banned by law.

There were marked differences in attitudes to the burqini across different age groups, political parties and religious denominations.

Men were slightly more likely than women to oppose the swimsuit, with 68 percent of men against it compared to 60 percent of women, whilst younger people were the most likely to be actively in favour of the garment; 24 percent of 18-24-year-olds came out in support of the burqini, four times the average.

Meanwhile, 73 percent of Catholics were against burqinis being worn on beaches, compared to 57 percent of those who did not identify with any religion.

Right-wing voters were strongly against the burqini, with 86 percent of Front National supporters saying they opposed it, and 76 percent of Republican voters. Among Socialist supporters, there was only a slight tendency to oppose the swimsuit; 52 percent.

The burqini has sparked furore both in France and abroad, particularly following images appearing to show a woman removing her tunic at request of police.

While Anglo countries have generally come out in strong support of the burqini, several of France's European neighbours have mulled burqini bans themselves. Ban have been introduced in some local German pools and they have been proposed in Lombardy, an Italian region where the burqa is already banned, despite Italy's interior minister ruling out a national ban.

READ MORE: How the world is reacting to France's burqini bans

France's highest administrative court will on Thursday examine a request to scrap a ban on the Islamic burqini swimsuit; the result of the ruling will set a precedent for the legality of the ban in the 30 towns where it is in place.

Thursday's Ifop study was a representative survey of 1001 French people, and was carried out between August 22nd and 24th.


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