'I don’t think anyone should tell women what they can and can’t wear. Full stop.'
London mayor Sadiq Khan has publicly criticised the ban on so-called burkinis in a number of French coastal towns.
Ahead of a visit to Paris to meet with his counterpart there, Khan spoke to the Evening Standard about the controversial issue, saying:
“I’m quite firm on this. I don’t think anyone should tell women what they can and can’t wear. Full stop. It’s as simple as that.”
Integration and diversity will be major topics in the discussions between Khan and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, with Khan emphasising that ‘one of the joys of London is that we don’t simply tolerate difference, we respect it, we embrace it, and we celebrate it.’
The message is particularly powerful since it comes from one of Europe’s most senior Muslim politicians, and Khan knows it.
He observed that Hidalgo ‘was impressed on her last visit by the impact that somebody that looks like me, and belongs to the faith I do, might have on some of her constituents.’
France is grappling with rising anti-Muslim sentiment in the aftermath of attacks on Paris and Nice. Earlier this week, images emerged of armed police ordering a woman to remove some of her clothing on a beach in Nice.
A ‘Wear What You Want’ protest is taking place outside the French Embassy in London this afternoon, to ‘show solidarity with French Muslim women and to call for the repeal of this oppressive law by the French government.’Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.