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Nuns cannot wear their habits on our beaches, says deputy mayor of Nice

Two nuns enjoy the sun on the beach (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

The deputy mayor of Nice has said that nuns wearing habits are no more welcome on his beaches than women wearing burkinis.

Speaking to presenter Edward Stourton on the World at One on BBC Radio 4 yesterday, the Deputy Mayor, Rudy Salles defended the burkini ban and said: “What is the burkini? There is bikini and there is burka and the burka is forbidden. When you go to the beach you wear a bathing suit. You don’t go to the beach as you want. If I want to go on the beach naked it’s forbidden-I cannot.

“So if you want to go to the beach in a burkini it’s forbidden because it is a provocation. Religion and the state are completely separated. Religion is the affair of each one but each one at home, each one at church, not each one in the street.”

When Edward Stourton asked him: “What about a Catholic nun. Would she be allowed to appear on the beach wearing her habit?”

The deputy mayor replied: “No. The same.”

Yesterday, the council of state, France’s highest administrative court, examined 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.