Bishop Nunzio Galantino, the secretary-general of the Italian bishops’ conference, has criticised the burkini ban in France, pointing out that religious sisters wear head coverings also.
In an interview with Corriere della Sera, Bishop Galantino said: “It’s hard to imagine that a woman [in a burkini] who enters the water is there to carry out an attack.” He added: “I can only think of our nuns, and I think of our peasant grandmothers who still wear head coverings.”
Proposing an analogy with the wearing of a cross or a kippah, Galantino said: “The freedom to be granted to religious symbols should be considered on a par with the freedom to express one’s beliefs and to follow them in public life. And, let me tell you: I find it ironic that we are alarmed that a woman is overdressed while swimming in the sea!”
Today, the council of state, France’s highest administrative court, will look at an appeal by the French Human Rights League to scrap the burkini bans.
The row has escalated since pictures emerged this week of a woman wearing a burkini on a Nice beach being approached and surrounded by the police.
Nice’s deputy mayor said the removal of burkinis was a “necessity” after the terrorist attack last month.