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Muslim woman barred from Paris pool for `burquini'

Posted by on Aug. 12, 2009 at 1:11 PM
  • 31 Replies

PARIS – A Muslim woman who tried to go swimming in a head-to-toe "burquini" has been banned from her local pool in the latest tussle between religious practices and secular authority in France.

Officials on Wednesday insisted they banned the woman's use of the Islam-friendly swimsuit because of France's unusually strict hygiene standards in pools — not because of official hostility to wearing overtly Muslim garb.

Under the policy, swimmers are prevented from wearing any street-compatible or baggy clothing, such as Bermuda shorts, in favor of figure-hugging suits.

The woman, a 35-year-old convert to Islam identified only as Carole, complained of religious discrimination after trying to go swimming in her burquini in the Paris suburb of Emerainville.

She was quoted as telling the daily Le Parisien newspaper that she had bought the burquini after deciding "it would allow me the pleasure of bathing without showing too much of myself, as Islam recommends."

"For me this is nothing but segregation," she added.

The issue of religious attire is a hot topic in France, where head-to-toe burqas or other full-body coverings worn by Muslim fundamentalists are in official disfavor.

French lawmakers recently proposed a ban on the burqa and other voluminous Muslim attire. President Nicolas Sarkozy backs the move, saying such clothing makes women prisoners.

But Daniel Guillaume, a regional official in charge of swimming pools, said Carole's poolside rebuff had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with public health standards.

He said swimmers throughout France must wear special clothes to the pool, whereas a burquini could be worn all day long, collecting everything from food spills to sweat along the way.

"These clothes are used in public, so they can contain molecules, viruses, et cetera, which will go in the water and could be transmitted to other bathers," Guillaume said in a telephone interview.

"We reminded this woman that one should not bathe all dressed, just as we would tell someone who is a nudist not to bathe all naked," he said.

Guillaume said France's public health standards require all pool-goers to don appropriate attire — swimsuits for women and tight, swim-specific briefs for men — and caps to cover their hair. Bathers also must shower before entering the water.

Guillaume said Carole had tried to file a complaint at a local police station, but her request was turned down as groundless.

Carole told the daily Le Parisien she would protest with the help of anti-discrimination groups.

The Associated Press could not reach the woman for comment Wednesday.


by on Aug. 12, 2009 at 1:11 PM
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Replies (1-10):
tericared
by on Aug. 12, 2009 at 1:25 PM

wow how stupid are some people? This is a bathing suit for Muslims,,,a Muslimah more than likely would not go aroumd all day in this..

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iluvmommyhood58
by Bronze Member on Aug. 12, 2009 at 1:35 PM
Quoting Pepperlynns:



"These clothes are used in public, so they can contain molecules, viruses, et cetera, which will go in the water and could be transmitted to other bathers," Guillaume said in a telephone interview.






So, who's going to break the news to this germaphobe about what the patrons in "appropriate" swim garb are actually bringing into the pool?
Dylansmom32509
by on Aug. 12, 2009 at 1:40 PM

These people are idiots. This has happend in my subdivisions pool before. A lady was with her kids and husband wearing one of those and the security guard would not let her in the pool because she was wearing "street" clothes.

Stefanie1085
by Silver Member on Aug. 12, 2009 at 1:51 PM


Quoting Dylansmom32509:

These people are idiots. This has happend in my subdivisions pool before. A lady was with her kids and husband wearing one of those and the security guard would not let her in the pool because she was wearing "street" clothes.


I agree. The whole idea that because it is clinging to you means its more sanitary? Really?

MattisMommy08
by Bronze Member on Aug. 12, 2009 at 2:06 PM

It can also be a hazard too.  Too much fabric can become very heavy when wet - even swim friendly fabric.  Also, I have seen them get wrapped around a woman's neck because she was turning in the water and the top became twisted around her neck.  She actually had to be pulled out of the water and have the top completely taken off in order for her to regain conciousness.  Very scary.

Anyway, I am not saying they were right in banning her, but some people don't think outside of the box when they are inforcing rules.  I believe that you should follow the spirit of the law, not the letter.  The rules were made for a real purpose, and they are simply 'blanket' rules to keep everyone safe and keep a healthy facility.  They were not created to be used as a way to exclude certain people. It is the responsibilty of the 'enforcer' to take a step back and interpret correctly, IMO.

But, on the other hand, we did have a neighborhood meeting and decided that those burquinis were no longer acceptable to wear in the pool.  Even the woman who was wearing it voted for the ruling.


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lajoy
by Holly on Aug. 12, 2009 at 3:55 PM

 

I can see some SMALL issue of safety with all that loose fabric in the water, but on the other hand, it just looks like an indirect form of discrimination to me. Sorry, I can't help it. I just suspect that enforcing a dress code that requires body hugging fabrics to be a way to keep certain people away.

I am not well informed on the laws or suggestions of Islam (Sharia law?? is that even close?) but would it be okay to wear something that snugs to the body for better water saftey, but still covers everything? Like surfers wear wetsuits? I am almost thinking that a Muslim woman would not be comfortable in that either, because it shows off her curves and what not. I don't know.

There has to be a better way to let Muslim women enjoy pools.

Stefanie1085
by Silver Member on Aug. 12, 2009 at 3:58 PM


Quoting lajoy:

 

I can see some SMALL issue of safety with all that loose fabric in the water, but on the other hand, it just looks like an indirect form of discrimination to me. Sorry, I can't help it. I just suspect that enforcing a dress code that requires body hugging fabrics to be a way to keep certain people away.

I am not well informed on the laws or suggestions of Islam (Sharia law?? is that even close?) but would it be okay to wear something that snugs to the body for better water saftey, but still covers everything? Like surfers wear wetsuits? I am almost thinking that a Muslim woman would not be comfortable in that either, because it shows off her curves and what not. I don't know.

There has to be a better way to let Muslim women enjoy pools.

From what I understand, form fitting clothing is a no-no. Its a modesty thing.

Nicole1002
by on Aug. 12, 2009 at 4:15 PM

I have a question.  I don't mean it sarcasticly.  I want a real answer.  I were to visit a country were "most" were Muslim's how would they feel if I went to a pool in a bikini or a regular one piece swimsuit.

Once again not looking to be jumped all over.  I really want the answer.  I've never been to a country like this and don't know any Muslims myself.

Thanks!

lajoy
by Holly on Aug. 12, 2009 at 4:20 PM


Quoting Nicole1002:

I have a question.  I don't mean it sarcasticly.  I want a real answer.  I were to visit a country were "most" were Muslim's how would they feel if I went to a pool in a bikini or a regular one piece swimsuit.

Once again not looking to be jumped all over.  I really want the answer.  I've never been to a country like this and don't know any Muslims myself.

Thanks!

I don't know the right answer, but I don't think it's a fair comparison. It can't make others uncomfortable if you are wearing too much clothing. However, not wearing enough could certainly be distracting and offend people.

If I were to travel to a place with different social norms and etiquette, which I hope to do a lot of, I would research ahead of time and make sure that I show respect for their culture and be sure not to offend.


 

Nicole1002
by on Aug. 12, 2009 at 4:25 PM


Quoting lajoy:

 

Quoting Nicole1002:

I have a question.  I don't mean it sarcasticly.  I want a real answer.  I were to visit a country were "most" were Muslim's how would they feel if I went to a pool in a bikini or a regular one piece swimsuit.

Once again not looking to be jumped all over.  I really want the answer.  I've never been to a country like this and don't know any Muslims myself.

Thanks!

I don't know the right answer, but I don't think it's a fair comparison. It can't make others uncomfortable if you are wearing too much clothing. However, not wearing enough could certainly be distracting and offend people.

If I were to travel to a place with different social norms and etiquette, which I hope to do a lot of, I would research ahead of time and make sure that I show respect for their culture and be sure not to offend.


 

I think it's a fair comparison.  We both live different ways.  I'm just asking...  I'm not saying what they did to her was right.  If there was a safty issue then yes, but I don't know what the outfit looks like so I couldn't say.

I would also do the same as the highlighted.  But in France it's the norm to wear small binkini's so I'm just asking. 

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