05 September 2016

A French mayor’s defence of the burkini ban

Béziers’s mayor Robert Ménard is adamant that France’s highest court has got it wrong. ‘The burkini should be banned, it’s a provocative symbol, nothing to do with modesty,’ he says.

‘Two years, a year ago, burkinis didn’t exist on our beaches. Now people are wearing them to make a point. But this is a Christian country. If we go to the Middle East we must abide by the rules and customs of that country. I think people who come to live here should do likewise.’

He is possibly France’s most interesting and controversial politician, a former journalist who is demonised by the left and increasingly idolised by the right. He was elected two-and-a-half years ago with the support of the Front National, the party of Marine Le Pen, but not on their ticket.

His critics say that he has launched a racist crusade. He made a video last year, which went viral, in which he visited immigrants from Syria and told them they were not welcome if they broke into houses and stole electricity and water. [The Spectator] Read more