An anti-burkini law in France would fuel tensions between communities and would be unconstitutional, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Sunday.
On Friday, the country's highest administrative court, Council of State, ruled against a decision by the mayor of French town Villeneuve-Loubet to ban the full body swimsuit. In recent times, around 30 French Riviera resorts have banned the garment.
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy, who launched his bid last week to run for presidency again in next year's election, said wearing a burkini was a political act and a provocation and called for a law that will allow mayors to ban it.
In an interview to French news paper Le Croix, Cazaneuve said, "As the prime minister has said, the government refuses to legislate on the matter because any such law would be unconstitutional, ineffective and likely to create antagonism and irreparable tension.
"However, Muslims must continue to engage with us over gender equality, the inviolable nature of the principles of the French Republic, and tolerance in order to live together". By overthrowing the decision of the mayor, the court has "stated the law", he added.
On Monday, 29 August, Cazeneuve will have "a day of consultations" with religious figures, civil groups, parliamentarians and others on Islam in France, seeking to get the religion that has become the subject of debate throughout the country better "anchored in the values of the Republic".
He also chastised the opposition for trying to stoke tensions at a time when France is hit by a series of deadly attacks claimed by Islamic State (Isis) militants. "Certain opposition leaders are making a lot of noise. They think that in the current context of terror threats, we can abandon the fundamental principles of law as embodied in the Constitution."
In early campaigning for presidential elections in April 2017, the controversy along with terror attacks on the country, have become subjects of heated debate, putting French identity and security issues at the forefront.