French authorities and a water park officials bowed to extremist right-wing pressure when they announced Tuesday that a Muslim women-only pool party in the French city of Marseille has been cancelled over "extreme ideological positions."
The one-day private event was set up for Muslim women wearing burkinis—full-body swimsuits—and was scheduled for Sept. 10 by Smile 13, a women's association catering to Arabs in the southern port city.
The group had made it clear that two-piece swimming costumes would not be allowed.
The group said it received revolver bullets in the mail after it announced the burkini event.
The far-right anti-Islam and anti-immigrant National Front has capitalized on the controversy surrounding the event.
Florian Philippot, an adviser to the leader of the National Front, Marine Le Pen, said the pool day resembled "dyed-in-the-wool communalism" and added that “this sort of event should be banned."
The city’s mayor, Jean-Claude Gaudin, also slammed the event and said a ban would be a fight against “division within our society." France was the first European country to ban the full-face Islamic veil in public places, but it is legal to wear Islamic dress.
The country has about 5 million Muslims, the largest Muslim minority in Western Europe. Smile 13 said on its Facebook account that it viewed "with astonishment and regret the extent of the controversy" surrounding the planned event.
The group’s page on Facebook no longer exists.