What are burkinis and why are they banned in some countries?

BURKINIS are a popular swimwear option by Muslim women for religious reasons.

However, the outfit has been controversially banned in some countries.

Burkinis are typically worn by Muslim women

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Burkinis are typically worn by Muslim womenCredit: Reuters

What are burkinis?

Burkinis are often worn in the summertime by Muslim women as a way to preserve their modesty and uphold their religious values.

They are known as full-length swimsuits and only show the hands, feet, and face.

In the culture, women cover up their entire body to have privacy from unrelated males and help avoid harassment.

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Why are burkinis banned in some countries?

In June 2022, France’s top court blocked a bid that would allow burkinis to be worn at public pools.

According to CBS News, it is an ongoing issue in France, where many see burkinis as a “symbol of creeping Islamization.”

The “very selective exception to the rules to satisfy religious demands… risks affecting the proper functioning of public services and equal treatment of their users” the Council of State ruled.

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Previously, Grenoble’s mayor, Eric Piolle, had changed the swimming pool rules to allow all types of swimwear for inclusivity.

“All we want is for women and men to be able to dress how they want,” Piolle said at the time, according to CBS.

However, the court decided that “contrary to the objective declared by the city of Grenoble, the change to the pool rules aimed only to authorize wearing of the ‘burkini.'”

CBS notes that burkinis are banned in French state-run pools for hygiene reasons, not on religious grounds.

Who invented the burkini?

The burkini was first invented by Lebanese migrant Aheda Zanetti in 2004.

Zanetti is known as a Lebanese-born Australian fashion designer for Muslim women who also invented the hijood for Muslim girls to practice sports.

Aheda Zanetti (L) designed the burkini

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Aheda Zanetti (L) designed the burkiniCredit: Reuters

In 2016, she told POLITICO that France’s controversial ban on burkinis is “just hatred” toward Muslims.

“Australians actually thought it was a fantastic idea,” she told the media outlet.

“The burkini did wonders for Muslim women and girls. It created confidence to get active. Now the French say it’s not their values. I don’t understand what French values are then. Is it French values to force someone to wear a bikini?”

She continued: “I created [burkinis] to stop Muslim children from missing out on swimming lessons and sports activities.

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“I hope the French prime minister and the mayors see that they should find out how to combine communities, how to work around issues, instead of harming the community, taking the beach away from some people and punishing them. That’s just hatred.”

At this time, she has not commented on France’s recent decision.

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