Burkini ban: US warns tourists to obey French law

Tunisian women, one (L) wearing a "burkini", a full-body swimsuit designed for Muslim women, walking in the water at Ghar El Melh beach near Bizerte, north-east of the capital Tunis on August 16, 2016 (AFP Photo/Fethi Belaid) (AFP/File)

Washington (AFP) - The United States said Wednesday it does not support bans by French resorts on Muslim swimwear but warned American travelers that they should obey local laws

Dozens of French resorts have banned beachwear that "conspicuously" shows a person's religion, an order targeting the "burkini" -- a full-body swimsuit worn by some Muslim women.

In response to a reporter's question as to whether the United States would update its travel advice to warn Muslim Americans, a US official advised them to obey the rules.

"Of course we believe in the ability of people to express their religious views as they see fit, and we believe that in this case as well," State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters.

"US citizens are advised to comply with local law regardless of what country they visit. But on this particular very local ordinance, I would refer you to the French."

The United States has expressed concern about French attitudes to religious dress in the past, in particular its national legal ban on full-face veils in public spaces.