The Mankini is not quite the Burqini

Apparently the burqini swimsuit fashion craze strikes in France. What is the “burqini” you ask? Well, think of the boring, Islamic fundamentalist version of the bikini and you’re close. The burqini swimsuit (alternatively “burkini”)is the latest to in swimsuit fashion. This fashion craze is essentially a “swimsuit” that covers the entire body, including the head and face. What seems to be causing a stink in France is that at least one local swimming pool has banned the use of the burqini by patrons. This comes on the tail of French president Sarkozy saying the burqa was “not welcome” in secular France. So, apparently there is some backlash in France over religious garb. As one could imagine, the patron who has been banned is not too pleased:

Guillaume, an official with the pool management.

Le Parisien newspaper said the woman, identified by her first name Carole, was a French convert to Islam and that she was determined to go to the courts to challenge the decision.

“Quite simply, this is segregation,” the paper quoted her as saying. “I will fight to try to change things. And if I see that the battle is lost, I cannot rule out leaving France.”

The newspaper ran a photo of the woman sporting her three-piece “burqini” which she said she purchased in Dubai during a recent holiday.

“I bought it thinking that I could enjoy swimming without having to uncover myself,” she said.

While I may not personally agree with the burqa and all that it represents (in my mind repression of women, etc), I don’t really see how allowing this woman to wear a burkini is a problem. I realize that since the strikes in France last summer, tensions between Muslims and the French have been tense, but this seems to be going a bit far. I know anything religious in the slightest offends French sensibilities, but who is this woman harming by wearing what amounts to a wetsuit? While France may be a secular country, indeed as we are, this simply means we have freedom of religion, not freedom to never be offended by religion. Implicit in the very idea of freedom of religion is the idea that we are all free to practice as our conscience dictates. This may include the wearing of various religious garments, religious haircuts or rituals in our public life as well in our private life. Freedom of religion does not mean complete and absolute freedom from religion.

You can see a slideshow of photos for the fashionable burqini aka burkini right over here.


Photo Attribution: Allstarecho