Mainstream media has recently covered the ‘burqini’ phenomenon, extolling its virtues and gushing over the lifesavers who are adopting its use in what is, unashamedly, a PR exercise to dim the Anglo face of beach culture. For those living under a rock, the burqini is a “Muslim-friendly” swimsuit for women, which apparently covers the body without being clingy and shape-revealing.
The reactions to the burqini are, not surprisingly, quite mixed amongst Muslims.There is no doubt that the maker of these suits has done Muslim women a service by providing them with swimming attire that does not compromise their modesty, as even among women, there are certain standards of modesty that should be observed. Perhaps it may even be viewed as a suitable alternative for those not adhering strictly to Muslim dress; it could be seen as better than, say, a one-piece or a bikini.
But it raises some issues too. Some observant Muslims wouldn’t feel comfortable going to a crowded beach for even a walk, what with the semi-nudity and all, let alone a swim (male or female). So covering up doesn’t address the greater and more pervasive problem of how others dress, bearing in mind Islamic views on modesty.
Let me preface the following by saying that I’m not offering any sort of Islamic edict on its permissibility or suitability. I can definitely see there are benefits to having the burqini, but there are ‘buts’ to consider. A major issue is whether people wearing it will see the burqini as a permission slip to start doing things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.
But what say you all?