J.K. Rowling, burkini designer and more react to outrageous burkini ban

At least 15 towns in France have imposed a ban on burkinis, claiming it to be a "necessary" response to recent terror attacks

By Andrea Tim | Published: 26 Aug 2016

Against burkini ban
Photo: Ahiida Burqini Swimwear and Hijood Sportswear/Facebook

In the latest episode of humanity managing to contradict its idea of liberty, armed police officers forced a woman at a beach in Nice to remove some of her clothing in line with the city's temporary ban on the burkini. Those who violate the ruling will be fined.

Photos of the incident surfaced, showing how the police officers confronted the woman, who had been lying on the beach wearing a headscarf and long-sleeved top. Nice is the latest of some 15 French cities to impose the ban, in light of recent terror attacks in the country. Another woman, who was reportedly also fined for wearing leggings, a tunic and a headscarf, revealed that she was fined for not wearing "an outfit respecting good morals and secularism."

This is the ruling: "Access to beaches and for swimming is banned to any person wearing improper clothes that are not respectful of good morals and secularism." It goes on: "Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order."

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy called the modest swimwear a provocation: "The burkini affair, everybody sees it is a provocation, a provocation for the service of a project of radicalised political Islam," he said in a TV interview on Wednesday. A Corsican mayor defended the ban, saying that it's to "protect the population." Despite challenges by human rights groups who argued against a ban on a garment that doesn't hide the face in the first place (assuming that the REAL concern here is the danger of anonymity), the French court upheld the burkini ban at Villeneuve-Loubet by calling it "necessary, appropriate and proportionate." To top it all off, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that "For me the burkini is a symbol of the enslavement of women."

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was one of many people who expressed their outrage at the ruling – some even joined public protests – saying that it violated human rights and the freedom to wear whatever the hell you want of expression. We'll let these tweets speak for themselves.


Despite the ridiculous ban, women aren't staying off their burkinis. In fact, reports say that the demand for the burkini has spiked by over 200 per cent. Aheda Zanetti, the Lebanese-born Australian designer who created the trademarked burkini under her label Ahiida, told WWD that she intended for her modest swimwear to promote cultural integration.

"The burkini was intended to integrate and bring people together," she said. "To give them the freedom of choice to wear something modest if they choose to be modest for whatever reason they need to be modest for. It should be happy and positive. [The ban on the burkini] is turning something meant to give women the freedom of participating in health and fitness into a negative thing."

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