Days after organizers in France announced a “burqini” pool party for Muslim women, which triggered backlash and death threats, officials said Tuesday they decided to cancel the event.
Michel Amiel, mayor of the French town of Les Pennes-Mirabeau outside Marseille, called off the private event, originally scheduled for mid-September at the Speed Water Park. Last week, Amiel vowed to ban such parties in the future.
Organizers had urged female attendees to wear swimsuits that cover most of their bodies, in accordance with Islamic law, and prohibited men over the age of 10 from attending.
Amiel reportedly told a local radio station Tuesday he intended to “calm the situation” by nixing the event.
"We saw the reactions on social networks that were completely outrageous, Islamophobic, xenophobic, and racist, which I totally condemn, but given the circumstances, we have to cool things off,” he told France Bleu, adding the pool manager hadn’t expected the strong emotional response.
Members of Smile 13, the Muslim group that planned the event, received bullets in the mail after news of the party’s burqa-only dress code spread, The Local reported.
"The situation has become surreal, from insults, incessant journalist requests, and death threats to members of the team," the group wrote in a Facebook statement, adding it promotes the tolerance of women from different religious backgrounds, regardless of attire.
The group also condemned the “narrow minded polemicists and politicians” who made an issue of what they said was supposed to be a “moment of relaxation,” according to The Local.
“We count on you to…not come in a two piece,” a message on a promotional poster for the event read.
Although it is legal to wear Islamic dress in France, the country was the first in Europe to ban full-face Islamic veil in public places and headscarves in schools, FoxNews.com reported last week.