This one's for you ladies...
French pool bars Muslim woman for 'burquini' suit
Published - Aug 12 2009 05:11PM EDT
By MARIA DANILOVA - Associated Press Writer
FILE - In this Feb.15, 2007 file photo, Sama Wareh walks along the sand dressed in swimwear designed for Muslim women Newport Beach, Calif. A French Muslim was denied last Aug.1, 2009 entry to a swimming pool for wearing an Islamic-style full-body swimsuit. Officials say the head-to-toe ''burquini'' is unhygienic and harmful to other bathers, but the woman complains of religious discrimination. The incident adds to controversy over wearing explicitly religious symbols in public places in this secular country.
A Muslim woman garbed in a head-to-toe swimsuit _ dubbed a "burquini" _ may have opened a new chapter in France's tussle between religious practices and its stern secular code.
Officials insisted Wednesday they banned the woman's use of the Islam-friendly suit at a local pool because of France's pool hygiene standards _ not out of hostility to overtly Muslim garb.
Under the policy, swimmers are not allowed in pools with baggy clothing, including surfer-style shorts. Only figure-hugging suits are permitted.
Nonetheless the woman, a 35-year-old convert to Islam identified only as Carole, complained of religious discrimination after trying to go swimming in a "burquini," a full-body swimsuit, in the town of Emerainville, southeast of Paris.
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 said.
The issue of religious attire is a hot topic in France, where head-to-toe burqas or other full-body coverings worn by some Muslim fundamentalists are in official disfavor.
France is home to western Europe's largest Muslim population, estimated at 5 million, and Islam is the nation's second religion after Roman Catholicism.
A 2004 law banning the wearing of Muslim head scarves at public schools sparked fierce debate. That legislation also banned Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses in public classrooms.
French lawmakers recently revived the issue of Muslim dress with a proposal that the burqa and other voluminous Muslim attire be banned.
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