24 August 2016
Banning of Burkinis on Beaches – Standing Against Patriarchy in All its Forms
We at Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK) are deeply disturbed
about the continued banning of the Burkini- an item of clothing some women are
choosing to wear on the beach and whilst swimming. The banning sadly highlights
the increasing anti-Muslim sentiment across Europe which is clearly at the core
of these ludicrous decisions.
While it is true that many countries are at risk of terror
attacks, how can the enforcement of dress code, specifically women’s dress,
lessen such risk? Instead, what it does to is further marginalise minority
Muslim communities and works against community integration and cohesion.
To be clear, the Mayor of Cannes’ ruling states:
to beaches and for swimming is banned to any person wearing improper clothes
that are not respectful of good morals and secularism."
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."
infringement is punishable with a fine of €38 (£33)
ban remains in place until 31 August 2016
MWNUK Executive Director, Faeeza Vaid said: “Just as the
mayor of Cannes described the Burkini as ’a uniform that is the symbol of
Islamist extremism’, I argue that his ban is secular extremism, and actually
gives ammunition to Islamists. As a women’s rights activist, I question how can
it be okay in 2016 to dictate to women what they wear? Let’s be clear: it is
NOT okay- and is an abuse of current French laws.”
a number of factors have influenced
dress code including; class, ethnicity, work, country of origin and residency, climate,
religious interpretations, politics and of course fashion. And as we can see in
the photograph above, in many contexts there have existed self-appointed
enforcers (most often male) of such dress codes, who validate their patriarchal
thinking through law and/or threats of actions, like monetary fines. At the
core of these decisions is the control of women’s autonomy.
urge all human rights activists to stand equally against this direct
discrimination of Muslim women, as we would stand for the rights of all women
to wear what they choose.
If you, or anyone you know, is being subjected to anti-Muslim
hatred, bullying and intimidation, you can call the MWN Helpline for advice on
0800 999 5786. Anyone who fears for their safety should contact the
Note to Editors
Muslim Women’s Network UK is a national charity
that works to improve social justice and equality for Muslim women and girls
and operates a national helpline. We find out about their experiences
through research and helpline enquiries and produce resources, deliver
campaigns and conduct advocacy work, regularly engaging with government.
MWNUK organisational website :
MWN Helpline website : www.mwnhelpline.co.uk
MWN Helpline contact info: 0800 999 5768 /
0303 999 5786 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Media spokespeople from Muslim Women's Network
Faeeza Vaid, MWNUK Executive Director - 07535
703567 / email@example.com
Shaista Gohir MBE, MWNUK Chair - 07802 225989 /
Mussurut Zia, General Secretary – 07967 655063 /