French Muslims are back in the news:
French pool bars Muslim woman for 'burquini' suit
A Muslim woman garbed in a head-to-toe swimsuit _ dubbed a "burquini" _ may have opened a new chapter in France's tussle between religious practices and its stern secular code.
Officials insisted Wednesday they banned the woman's use of the Islam-friendly suit at a local pool because of France's pool hygiene standards _ not out of hostility to overtly Muslim garb.
Under the policy, swimmers are not allowed in pools with baggy clothing, including surfer-style shorts. Only figure-hugging suits are permitted.
That's true. I went to the public (i.e. non-hotel) swimming pool in Istres ten years ago. I came out of the changing stall (they didn't have changing rooms, only stalls) wearing American style trunks. I think I had barely got my feet wet when a lovely French girl [sigh] lifeguard came over to chat. She figured out pretty quickly that I was American, and in broken English told me that street clothes were not permitted in the pool. I tugged out the edge of the lining to show that it was a swimsuit, but she pointed to the speedos that the other male swimmers were wearing and indicated that this was what was expected. She told me -- and this is a direct quote -- "some French men are . . . dirt?"
"Um . . . do you mean 'dirty'?" I offered helpfully.
She then went looking to see if they had any swimsuits in the lost and found that I could wear. Yeah, kinda personal, but I was a hardcore swimmer back then, and I counted on the chlorinated water killing anything, you know, dirty.