September 5, 2016

A Burqini is not Equivalent to a Burqa

By Navida Sayed

The barbaric and atrocious terrorist attacks around the globe have put the world on edge. Unprepared and unexpected the sudden and random attacks have left parts of the world shell-shocked. Security is a growing global concern for world leaders and authorities. However, repeatedly targeting Muslim women’s dress code & publicly humiliating them is not a solution.

The latest controversial topic surrounds the burqini, which is not an overt symbol of affiliation with terrorists. Created bearing Muslim women in mind, the burqini is an all in one convenient sun, waterproof swimsuit with a bonus, a swimming hat. Many non-Muslim women who may feel uncomfortable wearing other forms of swimwear for many reasons have benefited from the outfit.

I would like to clarify that a burqini is neither the swimwear equivalent of a burqa nor an Islamic item of clothing. There are no instructions in the Holy Quran or Islamic teachings about it. It’s a modern day innovation which complies with health and safety regulations in a swimming pool. It does not replace the loose outer coat and head covering which Muslim women wear on a day-to-day basis. The reference to the word burqa in the name given to this swimwear has resulted in the confusion and misunderstanding that it is an Islamic form of dress.

While France is desperately trying to seek a solution to terrorism following a wave of terrorist attacks, the Muslims of that country should cooperate with the authorities and assist them to defeat terrorism.

If France has temporarily placed a ban on the burqini it is the duty of every Muslim citizen living within that country to obey and respect the law of the land. The burqini ban does not hinder the daily life of Muslim women.

However, France and other nations in the world also need to protect and respect Muslim civilians and ensure their safety too.

The best way forward to deal with security and extremism is to educate and work with communities, not against them. Only then can the world pave a path for peace