Italian mayor bans 'burkini' from pools

Aug. 19, 2009 at 7:51 PM
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VARALLO SESIA, Italy, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Women cannot bathe in local pools in Varallo Sesia, Italy, wearing an Islamic head-to-toe swimsuit, the city's mayor said Wednesday.

Gianluca Buonanno said he would fine any woman wearing the "burkini" because she might alarm children at the pool. The outfit consists of a head scarf, tunic and trousers, the ANSA news service reported.

The burkini obscures the face, which violates a 1975 Italian law. However, it is still being debating whether the law can be applied to religious clothing as long as the wearer will remove the veil when requested by police.

Buonanno also said the attire could pose hygienic problems in the northern Italian community. He told ANSA the fine would be $700.

When a woman appeared in a Verona pool in a burkini, the mayor there, Christian Panzarini, said he received numerous complaints, but didn't ask her to leave. He said he asked her to give him details of the material used to make her clothing, but he has not heard from her since.

In France, officials evicted a woman in a burkini from a pool outside Paris, saying the clothing was unhygienic.

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