Saturday, May 19, 2007

My burkini made waves

I was a bit surprised when I read this article recently. Manal is an American Muslim currently living in the UK. One afternoon she says " my routine visit to the gym had suddenly sparked a crisis: it was all about immigration, asylum!"

How did this happen? she never had any problem with her swimsuit =>
before ( this is her photo). She traveled all over the world and wore it on various beaches and no one complained.

"[..] there had always been a sort of unspoken agreement between me and my fellow swimmers that my swimsuit didn't really matter - we were all there to swim and relax. I was not forcing my swimsuit on them, and they were not forcing their choice on me".

It took one bigot to create an issue out of it, with lies in the media and journalists writing back and forth and no one ever bothering to find out from her what was the story.

" I contacted the Oxford Mail, offering them my side of the story. I never heard back. Of course, that would have destroyed the theme of the article. Nobody in Oxford would be interested in new swimming suits with hi-tech material, but a crazy Muslim woman jumping into a pool fully clothed and potentially suffocating in the sauna was much more interesting. Since when have facts been important to journalists covering stories involving Muslims?".

Read the full article here.

I was comparing her swimwear and could not see what was wrong with it. I would probably wear the same myself without the scarf in some places. So why the hypocrisy of some people I could not understand.
It looks to me no different than a wetsuit. People wear this for sports events and all sorts of activities, and also for sun protection. OK you would say there is no sun in an indoor swimming pool but there is no harm in wearing this or is there ? It's like wearing a wetsuit and a swimming cap which is what some would do when they have allergy to the chlorinated water of a pool.


shlemazl said...

This is funny. She accuses Oxford Mail of giving a one-sided story without letting her to express herself and then she does not state what the original article was about and the Guardian does not ask anyone from the gym about the incident.

The whole issue was about her going in the sauna in this outfit and then going straight into the pool. The original article stated that the whole problem was about hygene.

One of the visitors complained about hygene and then the lifeguards said that they did not stop her because her outfit is due to her religious beliefs. Then the visitor said that he was from Sweden, but he wasn't swimming naked because he was in Britain and it was against the rules.

Highlander said...

shlemazl, I had read some of the original articles mentioning the sauna and hygiene issue,,2-2007120106,00.html

and I do agree with you that this would be a problem. However, when I read her piece in the Guardian it looked to me like she was blaming the journalists for not asking about the real story no? But only after sensationalist titles. which is why she decided to talk about the incident herself.

At no point had the journalist contacted me. She seemed to have decided to take a similar approach to the man in the swimming pool - talking about me, not to me

At no point did any of the readers question Caldwell's version of events; nor did the majority of readers question his motivation for highlighting the issue.

The Swedish visitor was apparently talking to the manager not the lifeguards.

Manal says she has been swimming there for a long time so I'm sure that if she had gone in the sauna and jumped in the pool she would have been told off earlier. Do you really believe she would go in a sauna in such an oufit ?
The point she wanted to make was that the original article lied and portrayed her wrongly to prove some point.

Thanks for your input.

programmer craig said...

I don't believe this story, Highlander. For one thing, she is not providing the any information about the original article she is ranting about, not even a quote. We have only her interpretation of what happened. If anything happened at all. Another reason I am suspicious, is because it is in the Guardian. And yet a third reason I am suspicious is because she *just happens to be* a senior management person for an un-named NGO. I'd be very interested in finding out more about what that NGO is, exactly.

However, I'll act as if I believe the story is legit, just as she told it :)

If she violated the gym's dress codes, and somebody complained, she is out of luck. If she did not violate that gym's dress codes, then there isn't a problem.

My own gym has dress codes, for both the pool and for the gym floor. The dress codes are on big signs on teh wall, and in the pool area. I've violated the dress codes myself a few times when I was too lazy to go home and change and just went to the gym in my jeans. Nobody complained, so I got away with it. If anybody had complained, I would have been asked to leave.

I notice that she also didn't mention if she had, in fact, violated the gym's dress codes?

Maybe she should be lobbying the gym to change their dress codes... instead of making such a big stink?

By the way, in my gym women (or men) with long hair have to wear a bathing cap. The burkini would be a plus in that regard :)

programmer craig said...

OK, after reading the original it makes a lot more sense. H, she doesn't deny she was in the sauna before going into the pool - since that is specifically what was said about her in the original article, don't you think she would have, if it wasn't true?

My gym requires people to shower before going in the pool. Many people don't, but if I saw a woman wearing heavy clothes like that in the Sauna and then going strait to the pool, I'd probably freak out too. That's pretty gross.

programmer craig said...

I did enjoy the cracks about the US being more tolerant than Britain, though! That ought to piss off those snooty holier-than-thou bastards, eh :P

Given that this is supposed to be one of the great seats of western civilisation, that should give British citizens something to chat about.

But if she grew up in the US why does she spell "civilization" in the British manner? Hmmm.... more confusing by the minute! Even Firefox flags that as a mis-spelling, with that 's" instead of a 'z' :O

shlemazl said...

Well, she does not even mention the sauna/hygene issue in her article which makes me wonder. She does not say the guy lied either. She just ignores the accusation.

She just presents it as if it were religious discrimination purely because of her outfit. Having spent 10 years in the UK I would have found her story VERY hard to believe even if did not ignore the main point of the original article.

Manal says she has been swimming there for a long time so I'm sure that if she had gone in the sauna and jumped in the pool she would have been told off earlier.

Not sure. I certainly wouldn't have been brave enough to raise the issue. I think most westeners
would not dare "telling off" either.

shlemazl said...

I also note her "Swedish e-mail" anecdote about naked Swedes. It is somewhat similar to the "Swedish visitor" story, except that the latter actually makes sense.

Sorry, she just does not sound trustworthy in this particular case.

Anglo-Libyan said...

Burkini was invented in Australia if I remeber right and I know that some places in the UK sell it or you can order it on line, it comes in 2 shapes, slim which looks qite elegent or baggy for the more body conscious.

I have not heard of this story before, it seems like it stayed within the area of the oxford mail but it does not surprise me, Britain does have the worst gutter press in the world and a story like this makes money!

good to see you back ya Highlander :o)

The Lost Libyano said...

ditto what anglo-libyan said, its good to see u back H.

Personally I am tired of all of this, the whole clash of civilizations, and the culture war, its all so completly stupid. People are just being bigotted and knit picky.

Shlemazl I know she does not sound trustworthy she is a gentile. :P

What exactly are you saying? We should not acomodate non-western ways and belifes in Europe......? :P

Okay No Yamakas, None of those greesy black curls, no more top hats, no more praying in the airport. Jews must act like respectable Westerners, no more of this Middle Eastern culture in the west right?

Is that what you would like Shlemazl? Would you like us to ban all things jewish which are against western culture, tradition and way of life?

Ofcourse not that would be anti-semitism. Like that time when the ADL started screaming about the election boths being a church, saying it was offensive to jews and a sign of evil americas anti-semitism?

NOMAD said...

isn't it a weird way to enjoy see, s.e.x, and sun ?

The Lost Libyano said...

You know I personally think it would be best for all parties involved in this alleged "clash of civilizations" if we cut of all trade, with one another.

And by that I mean no more OIL.

What I want to know is why exactly do the Europeans despise our culture, customes and way of life?

I wear western clothes, as do the vast majority of Libyans back home, we eat western food, we listen to western music, we watch western movies, we are not the intolerant ones, quite the contrary we are embracing our Western brotherns culture with open arms, we Middle Easterns appreciate cultural diversity, and not only do we tolerate the diffrences of others, we cherish them.

And if you dont belive me, take a look at Moorish Iberia, and its blending of Western European cultures, And Eastern Cultures.

But on the other hand when it comes to the west i see nothing but..... Draconian Middle Aged Europe's hatred for those who are not of western european decent, and followers of the Christian Faith(which ever version is of the fashion during that particular time), in the Modern era I see Social Darawanism, Facism, Communism, Neo-Conservatism, Right Wing Christian Fundamentilism(Evangelism) which preaches conversion of the whole world ect...

And all other types of ideologies which call for disunity of the human family on basis of race, skin colour, culture, ect. Even the West German hates the East German can you belive that! So as far as Muslims being the cause of the clash of civilizations I beg to differ, all we Muslims ask is to be allowed to control our own affairs, and not to be slaughtered in a wholesale fashion like Facist Italy's slaughter of half of Libyas population, and France's killing of a Million Plus Algerian Civilians.

To the west I say if they truley hate us with such a fiery passion, and they truley want to have nothing to do with us, then we should take our buisness else where, wouldnt you agree? I see two huge giants of nations in the east, who are more then willing to buy our natural resources, and respect us as fellow human beings.

I would like the tolerant west to show me one example, one time during the comman era, where it worked with people of diffrent cultures for the benfit of humanity? Show me one Andolasia? Show me a Ottaman Empire? Show me a time during the comman era where westerners worked hand in hand with easterners? NEVER.

The Lost Libyano said...

isn't it a weird way to enjoy see, s.e.x, and sun ?

well maybe to you nomad, my friend, but to this women she views it as a perfect way to enjoy the sea, and the sun. As far as sex on the beach with onlookers, this is very strange to the eastern mind, but if thats what westerners are into then more power to you. Just be careful not to get sand in you snatch, it might cause a bladder infection:P

NOMAD said...


that was some famous refrain we had in the seventies, I agree, sand is is a deseases, no towel then ? :lol:

Curt from Houston said...

Unfortunately H, due to the small percentage of Islamic crazies like OBL, wearing this kind of outfit anywhere in public is starting to be like putting on a white sheet and a pointed hood in Western societies. PC cuts both ways. The Ku Klux Klan was always a minority view in the Southern United States. That didn't keep the entire South from being painted as racist. The South is still trying to shake off this stereo type one hundred and forty years later.


I’m having problems posting today so I apologize in advance for any duplicate posts.

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Safia speaks said...

Good to see you back blogging, sistah LoneH.

I myself always use a wetsuit when I jump into the pool in my health club or am swimming in public where there are men.

Swimming is one of the three recommended sunna sports and i love it.

The Lost Libyano said...

I did enjoy the cracks about the US being more tolerant than Britain, though!

Ofcourse its more tolerant Craig its a billion times more tolerant, their is no better place to live then the US. It truley is a beakon of freedom, yes their are a few adjustments I would like to make, here and their, but generally speaking America is a Success. America is the greatist civilization on the face of the earth, and in many ways the most Islamic civilization on earth, and by that I mean many Islamic ideals, are not only on the law books, but they are generally speaking put to practice. America is a land of immigrants, and Britain is the land of The British. America is not west, nor east, not christian, and not Muslim, its no mans land, everyone is welcome. In America everyone at least in theroy is equal if someone tells me to mound my camel and head back to Libya, I simply tell them to go back to Europe. True their are people here known as "conservatives" who basically want to make America Europe 2, and impose European ideas, customs, and Christianity morality on us by stoping certain Americans from walking around naked, and marry members of the same sex, and occasionally of diffrent Species, like the young woman who wanted to marry her horse, which I think is totally cool. In anycase this women is right America is more tolerant and we must continue to make it so, and if anyone does not like that and wishes to have a more homelike America say for instance Pat Robertson wanting a Christian America, or David Duke wanting to have a European America, they should go back home. Same for Muslims if Hamza Yousef wants to have a Islamic America he should go back to Europe, and debate it amongst his fellow Europeans, like ahmed thompson and the rest of the Murabitun. But america being a Islamic state, well that will never happen, unless the Native Americans, embrace it and start making a fuss, then well we have to respect the Natives and their wishes, because if we dont then all of us old worlder would become cultural imperialists, and ofcourse the secular system which we all bow down to, and concider to be the highest form of Morality known to man, frowns on imperialism:(

But in general America has no god, no culture, and no racial identity. America is generic, come one come all, to the safe haven of freedom, and prosperity.

NOMAD said...

that's reassuring, but you could find the same in France, according to the Pew polls, and I am sure someone will be kind enough to provide you the link :lol:

Maya M said...

Agree with Nomad and Curt.
It is unfortunate that Yasmina seems to have deleted her blog. There was a post about this type of bathing suit. Yasmina wrote that "we Muslims seem unable to have fun" (she was identifying herself as Muslim but, to my opinion, she is definitely a heretic). She also suggested a pair of socks to be added to this 4-part bathing suit because "bare feet can look very erotic on the sand".

Highlander said...

Maya I agree that making fun of this bathing suit can be very funny I personally identify as a Muslim but won't be wearing - but we cannot ignore the fact that many of my friends and acquaintances have a collective sigh of relief over this innovation. Some told me and I quote 'it has allowed me to play with my children at the beach' , 'I can now fully enjoy myself with my friends and family' . So I guess there is a need of this product and not because of Islamism but because some people genuinely do not want to bare it all not in case they are sexy for the onlookers but because this is their wish too :P