In its decision, the local court declared that “insufficient grounds” existed to justify banning the covered swimsuit, Agence France-Presse reports. The garment is worn by observant Muslim women when enjoying such activities such as swimming and going to the beach.
The ban — which Nice was one of the first cities to enforce before about 30 towns in southern France followed suit — was largely prompted by fears of terrorism after a series of deadly attacks across the country over the past year. Nice was the most recent target of one of the attacks, when a man purportedly belonging to the Islamic State (ISIS) mowed down more than 80 people with a truck during a Bastille Day celebration on July 14.
However, the court ruled that the “emotions and the concerns resulting from terrorist attacks” do not constitute legal grounds to enforce a ban.
The outcry against the burkini has triggered a national debate over Islamophobia and religious freedom in secular France. Nice has been at the center of that debate, particularly after an image of policemen seemingly forcing a Muslim beach-goer to shed hers went viral last month.