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France's highest court suspends controversial burkini ban

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France's highest court has suspended one town's ban on burkinis, a full-body swimsuit often worn by Muslim women. 

The ruling applies only to the town of Villeneuve-Loubet, but will likely set a precedent for more than a dozen other cities that have similar bans in place.  

  

The burkini is a full body swimsuit that covers the entire body except the hands, feet and face. The outfits are "in line with Islamic values," according to a company that manufactures Burkinis.

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Activists protest outside the French embassy, during the "wear what you want beach party" in London, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The protest is against the French authorities clampdown on Muslim women wearing burkinis on the beach. Writing on the sign reads: 'No to Islamophobia, yes to Burkinis.' (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

The court found that the mayors in these towns did not have the right to impose the ban, which "seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms to come and go, freedom of beliefs and individual freedom."

Under French law, the court can issue a temporary ruling while it evaluates the legality of the case before making a final decision. 

Human rights advocates around the world have decried the ban, saying it targets Muslims. Others have said the ban promotes a double standard.

However, polls have found support for the ban in France on the grounds of protecting public order, according to the BBC

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