Tag Archive: Burkini

When swimwear becomes political: To wear or not to wear, is it now even a question?

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NEARLY 100 YEARS AGO: Swimsuit police measure women's bathing suits to ensure compliance with the government length requirement. Washington, DC, 1922.

NEARLY 100 YEARS AGO: Swimsuit police measure women's bathing suits to ensure compliance with the government length requirement. Washington, DC, 1922.

A local film-maker from Leeds has been ‘spurred on’ to create a Facebook group in solidarity of wearers of the burkini.

Isabelle Stead says she was moved by a news story this week where armed policemen were pictured forcing a mother to take off her modesty wear on a public beach in France.

The images show police confronting the woman in Nice on Tuesday, close to the scene of last month’s Bastille Day lorry attack on the shore at the town’s Promenade des Anglais.

After the authorities arrived, the woman appeared to remove a blue long-sleeved tunic, with one of the officers then seeming to take notes or issue an on-the-spot fine.

The photographs emerged on the same day that another woman spoke out after she had been fined on the beach, in nearby Cannes, for wearing leggings, a tunic and a headscarf.

Her ticket, seen by French press, read that she was not wearing ‘an outfit respecting good morals and secularism’.

Isabelle said: “When I first read about this poor woman, I thought, ‘this is Europe, it’s 2016 and a woman is being forced to strip on a beach and is being made a spectacle of’.

“She’s not wearing an abaya or anything like that. She’s just wearing normal clothes with her headscarf on and minding her own business. I kept thinking about it.

“It’s a human right that we should be able to dress how we want. This isn’t Afghanistan with the Taliban rule. I just couldn’t believe it.”

SOLIDARITY: Isabelle Stead’s Facebook page ‘Burkini’s on a beach’ is gathering a steady following

SOLIDARITY: Isabelle Stead’s Facebook page ‘Burkini’s on a beach’ is gathering a steady following

The Facebook group is quickly gathering a following and ‘Burkinis on the beach’ now has posts of support from the likes of esteemed Algerian and Dutch film-maker, Karim Traïdia,

“If this is happening now, then where does it end? We’re living in a world that’s now based on a culture of fear,” Isabelle continued.

“We get enraged and we become fearful of the unknown. It’s shocking what happened with the terrorism in France and I don’t want to play that down, but I also don’t want to be standing by when people’s civil rights are being stripped. It’s a basic human right to live and let live.”

Isabelle points to a photograph being shared on the internet of a woman getting her bathing suit measured to see if it’s long enough.

“That was nearly a hundred years ago,” she added.

“Now we’re going towards the other extreme. So what do we do? Walk around naked?

“We can poke fun at it, there’s pictures of motorcyclists in their helmets and leathers lying on the beach and people are making jokes about it - and we need a sense of humour to see how ridiculous it is - but we also need to be aware how dangerously this can escalate.”

Isabelle has debated the issue at length with a Muslim woman that she works with.

“Is it really a choice when a girl has grown up in a religious Muslim family to wear, or not wear, a hijab? Even though the women say it’s a choice, if it’s part of your community, it’s almost ingrained as part of your culture rather than a religious statement.

“But, at the end of the day, it’s a person’s right to choose what they wear. It shouldn’t be up to the public or the government to decide, because then what’s the next step from there?

“That’s what’s really unnerving and insidious about this.

“In winter, are they going to stop people going around in big coats where you can’t see people’s faces? Where do you draw the line on that? I’m just shocked so I thought I would show camaraderie with these women. We should have tolerance and be open minded.”

NEW RULES: The former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has branded the full-body burkini swimsuits, worn by some Muslim women, a ‘provocation’ that supports radicalised Islam

NEW RULES: The former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has branded the full-body burkini swimsuits, worn by some Muslim women, a ‘provocation’ that supports radicalised Islam

Philosopher Bertrand Russell said in 1959: “In this world which is getting more closely and closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say [or in this case, wear] things that we don't like.

“We can only live together in that way and if we are to live together and not die together we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.”

These words could not be truer in today’s climate.

To visit Isabelle’s page, go to www.facebook.com/burkinionthebeach/?fref=ts

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Burkini beach riot

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BEACH BAN: Burkinis will not be allowed to be worn on Corsican beaches

BEACH BAN: Burkinis will not be allowed to be worn on Corsican beaches

Corsica follows Nice in imposing a ban on controversial beachwear

The Mayor of Corsica has this week announced a ban of the modesty swimwear – known as burkinis – from local beaches after a violent riot broke out following a tourist photographing a Muslim family.

Tensions on the idyllic island are still running high after the mass brawl broke out on a beach between villagers and three Muslim families.

In the usually peaceful commune of Sisco, four people were injured – including one man who was harpooned.

Riot police were later called to prevent a crowd of 200 Corsicans marching into a housing estate with a high population of people of North African origin, shouting ‘this is our home’.

A police investigation is under way to determine the cause of the violent brawl.

Witnesses told local media that a father from one of the Muslim families complained about someone taking a photograph of his wife. A quarrel took place and a group of teenagers are reported to have then called their parents.

The local deputy prosecutor said four people, including a pregnant woman, were taken to hospital for treatment, while bottles and stones were thrown, and three cars were set alight. About 100 police officers attended the scene whilst a police cordon was set up to protect the Muslim families.

Full-body swimsuits, known as ‘burkinis’, have also been banned from the beaches of Cannes this month, with the mayor citing ‘public order concerns’ in his reasoning.

Cannes’ mayor, David Lisnard,  labelled the swimwear a ‘symbol of Islamic extremism’ after announcing the new legislation, adding that anyone caught flouting the rule could face a fine of £33.

The burkini ban follows France’s banning of the full Islamic vale, known as the burka, back in 2011, as well as the partial face covering material – a niqab.

The new ruling reads: “Access to beaches and for swimming is banned to any person wearing improper clothes that are not respectful of good morals and secularism.

“Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order.”

The ruling came into force for the first time at the end of July with no persons yet being apprehended for wearing burkinis.

Mr Lisnard also told local media that other religious symbols would still be permitted on Cannes’ beaches – including the Kippah and Christian cross.

He said: “I simply forbid a uniform that is the symbol of Islamic extremism.

“We live in a common public space, there are rules to follow.”

On 14th July, at the nearby Riviera city of Nice, 85 people were killed by a Daesh extremist who ploughed a truck into crowds packed onto the seafront as they celebrated the French national holiday.

Less than two weeks later, a priest was killed in the North of France by two attackers who claimed their allegiance to Daesh.

Where burkas and niqab are banned

  • France, since 2004
  • Belgium, since 2011
  • Chad, since 2015
  • Cameroon, in five provinces, since 2015
  • Diffa, Niger, since 2015
  • Brazaville, Congo, since 2015
  • Tessin, Switzerland, since 2016

 

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Modesty & Spencers

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CONTENTIOUS: M&S Collection’s burkini has been causing ripples of controversy in France (Pic Credit: M&S online)

CONTENTIOUS: M&S Collection’s burkini has been causing ripples of controversy in France (Pic Credit: M&S online)

Burkini ‘irresponsible’ says France

Britain’s shoppers are growing increasingly diverse, and in a sign of the times, Marks and Spencer has decided to stock a range of funky burkinis in their shops.

The burkini, which helps wearers retain their modesty whilst swimming and bathing, made headlines in 2011 after TV chef Nigella Lawson donned one when holidaying on Bondi Beach in Australia.

The M&S version - costing £49.50 - is a lightweight, three-piece full body suit which promises to ‘cover the whole body with the exception of the face, hands and feet, without compromising on style’.

In branches of the chain in Dubai and Libya, where it has been on sale for three years, the product has flown off the shelves.

However, when France heard that the quintessentially British brand were selling the modest fashion item, their women’s right’s minister,  Laurence Rossignol, slammed the move.

Ms Rossignol said to RMC radio: “What’s at stake is social control over women’s bodies. When brands invest in this Islamic garment market, they are shirking their responsibilities and are promoting women’s bodies being locked up.”

She continued: “You cannot pass off as trivial and harmless the fact that big brands are investing in a market that puts Muslim women in a situation of having to wear that.”

The Guardian’s Remona Aly said: “If I want to buy a burkini from M&S, I bloody well will.

“I think it’s about time that the patronising is sewn up once and for all. The hypocrisy of a fashion guru telling women what not to wear and a minister of women’s rights taking away the right of choosing to cover up, isn’t lost on me.”

The burkinis are available online from M&S and will soon be available to buy in the UK at the company’s flagship store in Marble Arch, London.

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