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Last Friday, France’s highest administrative court ruled against a decision by the mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet to ban the burkini. The topic has proven hugely controversial in France and beyond, especially after armed police attempted to force a woman to remove her burkini on a beach in Nice.
Restrictions on religious attire are not uncommon around the world. As part of a study gauging goverment laws and policies regarding religion, Pew Research tracked the countries around the globe where some level of government (national, provincial or local) regulates the wearing of religious symbols such as head coverings for women. It found that 18 of Europe’s 45 countries had at least one restriction in place in 2012-13. France and Belgium passed laws in 2010 and 2011 respectively, banning people from wearing clothing that covers the face (or most of it) in public places. This chart shows countries where some level of government restricts women from wearing religious attire.