A woman’s ‘burquini’ was banned from a neighborhood swimming pool in Paris, reviving a tense debate over France’s strict secular policies. Read more and see photos and video here.

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A ‘burquini’ is an outfit described as a full-body swimsuit, which includes a traditional Islamic head covering.

Officials insist the issue was not the outfit’s religious significance, but a matter of hygiene. They claim the woman simply violated the pool’s dress code. The AP reported that the pool doesn’t allow “baggy clothing, including surfer-style shorts. Only figure-hugging suits are permitted.”

But was that the real reason? Critics claim it was yet another snub toward public displays of religious preference.

The debate reached its peak when a law was passed in 2004 that disallowed Muslim headscarves in public schools. The law was not exclusive to the Muslim faith, and also included a ban on Jewish skullcaps, and large Christian crosses.

Lawmakers in France now want to expand the legislation to include the burqa and “other voluminous Muslim attire.” President Nicolas Sarkozy has expressed that he considers the burqa to be like prison for women.

The woman called the decision that led to her banned ‘burquini’ segregation. She told reporters the following:

“(the swimsuit) would allow me the pleasure of bathing without showing too much of myself, as Islam recommends.”

What do you think, are French officials taking it the ban too far? Let us know in the comments section below.

Check out a video about the incident below.

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