Europe

Top French court to rule on legality of burkini bans

  • En esta imagen de archivo, tomada el 4 de agosto de 2016, tomada de un video, Nissrine Samali, de 20 años, se mete en el agua vistiendo un burkini, un traje de baño completo que cubre de pies a cabeza, en Marsella, en el sur de Francia. (AP Foto, archivo)

    En esta imagen de archivo, tomada el 4 de agosto de 2016, tomada de un video, Nissrine Samali, de 20 años, se mete en el agua vistiendo un burkini, un traje de baño completo que cubre de pies a cabeza, en Marsella, en el sur de Francia. (AP Foto, archivo)  (The Associated Press)

  • A view of the Conseil d'Etat, France's top administrative court, in Paris, Friday, Aug. 26, 2016. The court has overturned a town burkini ban amid shock and anger worldwide after some Muslim women were ordered to remove body-concealing garments on French Riviera beaches. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)

    A view of the Conseil d'Etat, France's top administrative court, in Paris, Friday, Aug. 26, 2016. The court has overturned a town burkini ban amid shock and anger worldwide after some Muslim women were ordered to remove body-concealing garments on French Riviera beaches. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)  (The Associated Press)

  • Lawyer Patrice Spinosi, representing the Human Rights League, answers reporters outside the Conseil d'Etat, France's top administrative court, in Paris, Friday, Aug. 26, 2016. The court has overturned a town burkini ban amid shock and anger worldwide after some Muslim women were ordered to remove body-concealing garments on French Riviera beaches. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)

    Lawyer Patrice Spinosi, representing the Human Rights League, answers reporters outside the Conseil d'Etat, France's top administrative court, in Paris, Friday, Aug. 26, 2016. The court has overturned a town burkini ban amid shock and anger worldwide after some Muslim women were ordered to remove body-concealing garments on French Riviera beaches. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)  (The Associated Press)

France's highest administrative court is considering whether it's legal for towns to ban body-covering burkini swimsuits, which have become a symbol of tensions around the place of Islam in secular France.

After human rights groups challenged a local burkini ban, the Council of State is scheduled to issue a ruling Friday afternoon.

At a hearing Thursday, lawyers for the rights groups argued that the bans are feeding fear and infringe on basic freedom. Mayors who have banned burkinis cite concern about public order after deadly Islamic extremist attacks this summer, and many officials argue that burkinis oppress women.

The bans have divided France's government and society and drawn anger abroad, especially after images circulated online showing police appearing to force a Muslim woman to take off her tunic.