- The Washington Times - Friday, September 2, 2016

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls entered the nation’s ongoing debate over burqas and hijabs by invoking the bare breasts of Marianne.

The goddess of liberty is occasionally seen in paintings bare-breasted, either charging into battle or feeding infants. Mr. Valls said earlier this week that she, and not women in hijabs, embody the spirit of France.

“Marianne has bare breasts because she feeds the people, she does not wear a headscarf because she is free!” the official said Monday at a Socialist Party meeting, Le Monde reported. “That’s the Republic!”

“Marianne has a bare breast because it’s an allegory, stupid!” French University professor Mathilde Larrère tweeted in response, Politico Europe reported.

Mr. Valls‘ comments came just days after France’s highest administrative court overturned local bans against the burqini. A lower court in Nice — the location of the July 14 Islamic terror attack that killed 86 — had previously upheld the regulation.

The Conseil d’Etat, or Council of State, ruled Aug. 26 that burqini bans constitute a “serious infringement on fundamental freedoms that are the freedom of movement, the freedom of belief and personal freedom.”

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