Thanks to an Australian sportswear company named Ahiida, Muslim women can be modestly attired while fearlessly active in the water and on dry land. Ruqaya Al Ghasara, a short distance runner from Bahrain, was outfitted in a Ahiida Hijood Sports Top in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The Burqini, a head-to-toe swimming outfit marketed to Muslim women, is trademarked by Ahiida.
So what’s the fuss?
Apparently, religious attire is at issue in France and Italy. In 2004, the French government passed a law banning students from wearing head coverings in schools in defense of secularism. The ban also applied to Christian and Jewish symbolic religious attire. More recently the burqa is being considered. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has commented that the voluminous Muslim attire makes women prisoners. In the case of this month’s Burqini incident, French officials said it is being banned because it doesn’t meet hygiene standards — all that cover up carries germs.
And as for Italy, some believe their issue is fueled by anti-immigrant attitudes. Gianluca Buonanno, the mayor of the northern Italian town of Varallo Sesia and a member of the center Right Freedom Party, said “The sight of a ‘masked woman could disturb small children, not to mention problems of hygiene. We don’t have to be tolerant all the time.”
Obviously this guy has never been to Venice.
Last week I was helping my mother shop for some modest swim attire for her senior swim session she starts tomorrow. She wanted her legs covered. We are not Muslim. I suggested some micro fiber biker or aerobics pants to wear under her swim top.
Afterwards, I saw the photo of the Burqini but didn’t know its name. Hey! If France and Italy won’t allow it, I know a lot of 70 + year old women of all faiths here in the U.S. who’d love it.