• The burkini in the leisure bases is an “epiphenomenon” which represents less than 1% of the cases, estimate seven managers of the Ile-de-France leisure bases that we contacted, out of the eleven with a body of water or a swimming pool. what the region has.

  • The phenomenon has been stable for several years, contrary to what an article in

    Le Figaro

    entitled

    The burkini is sweeping the Ile-de-France leisure bases

    suggests .

  • The burkini is generally authorized on the edge of the water but prohibited for swimming, for reasons of hygiene and safety which are debated.

Is the burkini "breaking" on the leisure bases of Ile-de-France, as it could be written in the press recently?

No, the phenomenon does not date from 2022, and is not experiencing any particular growth this year, according to a majority of the 11 Ile-de-France leisure bases with lakes or swimming pools.

All were contacted by

20 Minutes

, and on the seven bases which answered us, the message is unanimous: this idea of ​​a sudden and recent growth of the burkini in the bases of leisures is at best exaggerated, at worst completely false.

An “epiphenomenon”.

This is the term used by Jean Yves Roux, director of the Val de Seine leisure center (Yvelines), to describe the burkini on its beaches.

The director estimates that this represents “less than 1%” of cases.

This is roughly the opinion of other managers.

“We don't have many.

[…] It is a minority that contradicts the rules, ”says for example Cyrille Marchadour, general manager of the base of the Ile de loisirs Jablines-Annet (Seine-et-Marne).

He adds: ““Surf” seems like a very big word to me.

»

“We have a large maximum of 20 cases per season, and these are people who respect the decision and do not bathe”, explains Roxane Latger, communication manager for the Buthiers leisure base (Seine-et -Marne), which according to her has at least 60,000 visitors per season.

"I've never seen one," reports an employee of the town hall who visits the base of Varennes-sur-Seine (Seine-et-Marne) every week.

“We must have a case or two in the season, and it is resolved fairly quickly.

We had at most in ten years to manage three women in a weekend – i.e. out of 5,000 people – in 2019 or 2018”, adds Abdelaziz Ammari, director of the mixed union which manages the leisure base of Port aux Cerises (Essonne) .

Phenomenon “stable since its appearance”

The burkini is also not the subject of a particular progression this year, or of a sudden increase, according to all the actors and actresses in the field.

"I did not see more or less burkinis than in other years," says an events and reception officer from the Cergy-Pontoise base (Val-d'Oise).

"I don't sense an outbreak of burkinis on the beaches compared to 2018, 2019," reports Baptiste Eponville, head of the bathing center at the Torcy leisure base (Seine-et-Marne), who notes an increase rather around 2015, after the attacks.

Jean Yves Roux, who has served as director of his base for 23 years, also spontaneously dates the arrival of the phenomenon “6-7 years ago”.

"I have not seen a development of the phenomenon, which has been fairly stable since its appearance," he adds.

It should be noted that while the burkini is prohibited in the water, it is authorized on board in all the leisure bases contacted, with the exception of the Port aux Cerises leisure base, where it is prohibited near the swimming pool for a matter of organization, argues its manager.

The burkini is in principle nothing more than a veil that goes in the water, but the veil is authorized in public spaces in France.

Its prohibition in the water is decided for reasons of hygiene and safety, advance the bases of leisures, in the same way as the people who would like to bathe fully clothed.

“The more clothing you wear, the harder it is to swim”

“At no time do we enter into religious reasons”, argues Baptiste Eponville, who advances reasons of hygiene.

“We are on a lake that has no connection with a river, no water renewal, and we have standards to respect.

That's why we have almost the same rules as a swimming pool: only swimming shorts or swimsuits are allowed.

We also limit the presence of birds, we oxygenate the water as much as possible, we pick up algae…”, explains Cyrille Marchadour.

All the officials interviewed also wanted to explain why the burkini is, in their opinion, potentially dangerous in the event of drowning, like any garment covering the whole body.

"The burkini takes more water than a swimsuit, a lady who is in a burkini will find it more difficult to come back to the edge, the more textile you wear, the harder it is to swim", advances Baptiste Eponville.

“A dressed person is more difficult to rescue than a person in a bathing suit”, adds Cyrille Marchadour.

The Defender of Rights not convinced by the arguments against wearing the burkini

You should know that the leisure centers are financed by the region, which also imposes its charter of secularism on them.

This charter stipulates that public service agents have, in accordance with the law of 1905, a "duty of strict neutrality" and that users must beware of any "religious proselytism" and "any behavior likely to risk undermining rules of hygiene, safety or disturbing public order".

This is nothing more than a reminder of the law in France: the burkini is therefore not strictly prohibited in leisure centers, except in the water for reasons of hygiene and safety, and except to create a disturbance of public order, the details of these principles being left to the discretion of those responsible for these bases.

For some people, the hygiene arguments put forward by establishments that refuse the burkini in the water are nevertheless questionable.

This is the case of Jacques Toubon, Defender of Rights, who judged in 2018 that the burkini is "designed for the aquatic environment and developed to comply with swimming pool hygiene standards".

"A ban on the burkini for simple reasons of hygiene is therefore not justified", concluded the Defender who questioned the authorization of diving suits.

“It's a neoprene wetsuit that has positive buoyancy, and we only allow it for competitions.

These are athletes who come to swim.

A burkini is textile, it's like a swimsuit, it doesn't float.

And the neoprene suits are used in the middle of the lake, not where there is swimming, ”says Cyrille Marchadour, CEO of the Ile de Loisirs Jablines-Annet base.

Our file on the burkini

This Jablines-Anet leisure base received a letter from the Defender of Rights in December 2020, judging that the “ban on the burkini within the leisure base is likely to constitute discrimination”.

But the case is still under investigation, the services of the Defender Claire Hédon informed us.

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