What about the Burkini-hating Arabs?

Published August 25th, 2016 - 12:21 GMT
A burkini-wearing woman (left) walks on a beach in Tunis. (AFP/Fethi Belaid)
A burkini-wearing woman (left) walks on a beach in Tunis. (AFP/Fethi Belaid)

The recent debacle over the ban of the burkini on some French beaches has made headlines across the world and led to a fierce debate on social media. France has been accused of betraying its liberal values and imposing its will on beachgoers, forcing them to undress and fit the mould of a secular, Western nation.

The ban has already led to one highly-publicized case of a woman on a beach in Nice, France who was forced to remove her burkini by police officers.

But what about Arab and Muslim hate for the burkini? On Facebook and Twitter, many of the top comments and tweets took a surprising stance on the issue - either attacking the Burkini itself or even shaming the woman in Nice for her actions.

"It's not strange at all, she could have easily avoided this. The burkini doesn't have anything to do with Islam, and she knew well that this is forbidden and she knew the police were near by. What made her put herself in that positionShe holds the greatest responsibility."

Even women on social media have criticized the French woman for putting herself in such a position. 

"I swear they didn't do anything wrong, what with you sitting with [all the half-naked women] and you're a Muslim?"

 A common argument used by the woman's detractors is that despite her burkini, the company surrounding her at the beach were anything but modest. If the burkini is a required outfit for a practicing Muslim woman at the beach, then why did go to a beach populated by women in bikinis?


"She deserves this, God ordered us to stay away from this kind of adultery. So what is she doing among them?"

 Perhaps most bizarre were the claims of conspiracy. One Facebook user elaborated:

"A terrible film with even worse directing. If she was really a hijabi women she'd have just left. But while being watched by cameras it was easy for her to folow their orders and remove her clothes. This is nothing else but an attempt to smear Islam and Muslims, and to make people doubt how much Muslims actually hold true to their principles."

The burkini is a 2004 invention by Australian Aheda Zanetti, and is often worn by practicing Muslims as a modest and Sharia-compliant alternative to revealing swimsuits. Despite its resemblence to a wetsuit, it still has provoked the ire of not just Western onlookers, but Arabs themselves as well.

As Arabic-language Al-Masry al-Youm pointed out recently, some Arab countries have banned the garment as well - notably a number of beaches in Egypt where anyone wearing Islamic clothing is forbidden to enter.


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