A sizzling summer controversy over burkini bans in France returned to the spotlight in midwinter Thursday, as a Corsican administrative court upheld a local decree against the Muslim swimming garment in one village, but struck down a similar ban elsewhere due to a lack of evidence that it was a threat to public order.

The decision by the court in Bastia, in northeastern Corsica, came at a time when Islam and the visibility of France's estimated five million Muslims is becoming a political flashpoint, ahead of presidential elections in April.

The French League of Human Rights said it would appeal the ruling that validated a burkini ban in the village of Sisco on the Mediterranean island. The local mayor had argued it was necessary to institute the clothing restriction following a brawl between local youths and families of North African origin last August in which five people were hurt.

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