Burkini Ban: How an Innocent Pun Became Another Way to Erase Muslim Women

The burkini.

Thanks to burkinis, we have Muslim lifesavers.

One of the greatest inventions of our time; an active attempt by Muslims to integrate into society by allowing Muslim women to spend time on public beaches while being dressed in a way that makes them comfortable. A fashionable way for Muslim women to laze on the beach and swim around. A wet-suit merged with a cap and a little skirty thingy that covers ones nethers. Apparently; now a representation of radicalisation and terrorism (you can get the background here).

To be honest, I’ve been very confused by France’s burkini ban. Not because I’m surprised that France has yet again found a way to oppress Muslims – but because the logic is so appallingly flawed that it makes me wonder just how much some people are willing to lie to themselves about their motivations in order to achieve a racist endpoint.

Although France’s highest administrative court has suspended the ban because of how ridiculous it is, many who implemented the ban in the first place are stubbornly defending this decision.

The claim they make is that the burkini (which is actually nothing like a burqa and was clearly named that because of how punny it is) flies in the face of secularism and is reflective of oppressive religious views being forced onto society.

That’s just… how do I put this?

It’s a load of crap.

Essentially; rather than appreciate the fact that the burkini has allowed Muslim women to integrate into and participate in broader society, France has decided that they can’t deal with that.

Instead of seeing the benefits, French authorities decided the best way to prevent radicalisation is to prevent these Muslim women from being on the beach. To make these women feel like they don’t belong. To fine them for choosing to  dress a particular way and to have a particular faith. To embarrass them and scare them out of the civic eye. To remind them that they are different and don’t belong.

It’s insane. The ban fundamentally goes against everything we know about preventing radicalisation. We know that people don’t get radicalised if they feel like they belong. We know communities are more cohesive when people feel that they can be respect in public places. Somehow; these basic principles and freedoms are being ignored by the French.

And then Muslims are asked why they don’t integrate more.

Why does integration mean that we have to take our clothes off?

Amazingly, in the same breath these authorities have both claimed to  be saving the rights of women while stripping away the rights of women.

It’s just incredible how people think that Muslim women can’t speak for themselves. That we’re incapable of deciding what we’re going to wear. That we don’t have a voice.

We do. 

We always have.

If we want to wear bikinis – great. We should be able to. If we want to cover our entire bodies on the beach – great. We should be able to. It is crazy to me that in 2016, we are still talking about whether government has a right to decide how modest a woman’s dress should be.

Aman Ali said it well:

Let’s just hope that this ruling is overturned across the nation and that sanity prevails.

Want to keep up to date with new posts? Feel free to Subscribe!

Follow me on Facebook or Twitter (@AmneBamne). You can also find me on Instagram! WOO!



  1. Thank you, have read all the articles you have posted on utterly ridiculous ban but it’s great to hear your voice. I think that the WTFF (WTF France) twitter handle said it all – that obviously was the instinctive reaction of many people when they read about it. But apparently the French impulse to unveil has deep colonial roots (or so an article I read today said). Which makes me think the lacite concept is a bit like the 2nd amendment in the US – made sense in terms of the situation it emerged within, but no longer. They need to revisit it. In the meantime I’m trying not to become a Francophobe.

    • You’re welcome! It’s such a strange topic to have to write about because common sense and our sense of justice tell us that telling women to dress a particular way is oppressive.

      It’s easy for people to start taking legal principles that worked in one context and then manipulate and apply them in oppressive ways – it’s the way that terrorist organisations operate also.


  2. […] Forcing these women to take off whichever covering they wear will do nothing to help their plight. It will only make matters worse. Imagine what would happen when women who are forced to cover up when they go out are not allowed to cover up any more. How many trips out of the house do you think they would make? How many beaches would they go to (read more about France’s burkini ban here)? […]

  3. I’ve been trying to ignore the ongoing saga, I think. It just seems so ridiculous and probably a little scary if I thought about it. I wear not a burkini but something very similar (a longer skirt and a different headcovering) and when I went to a swimming pool in Spain several years ago the lifeguards pulled me out of the pool after just a second or two and tried to make me take layers off! I refused, and they refused to let me swim. I read the story about the lady in France and just went, “That could so easily have been me!”

    The really strange thing – according to the article I read, women in France are meant to wear clothes “which show good morals and secularism”. My mother and I just looked at each other and went, “Well, wouldn’t covering up show better morals than going topless?”

    The other thing we thought was amusing was the idea that in Australia, the lifeguards might be going around telling people to dress like she was! I don’t know how it is in the eastern states (?), but here in Adelaide they can be pretty neurotic about making sure people are wearing rash tops and applying sun-screen. I wonder sometimes if burkinis shouldn’t just be marketed as “sun protective swimwear”.

    • I am so sorry for the delay in this response. I have just found over 50 comments that have been marked as spam going as far back as 2015. It’s possible that I have responded to this already – but I’ll answer again in case I haven’t!

      You and your mother were spot on! People can get so funny about what people choose to wear!

  4. I have the exact same burkini as Aman Ali! I am a new revert for about a year and a half and before I became a Muslim I almost never went to the beach/pool/etc. because I never felt comfortable walking around in something that felt less covering than underwear. Luckily, the burkini happened. Honestly, if I would have known about the burkini even before I became a Muslim I would have worn it. I think they are great. Plus no more sunburns! Well except my forehead…. I absolutely love swimming now.

    • Get some sunscreen on! Haha!

      I am so glad to hear that you’re feeling comfortable. If only people realised that Muslim women would stop being out in public if we were suddenly stripped of our right to dress modestly!

  5. Oh and I forgot to mention the burkini ban is totally stupid. My thought is it makes no sense, what’s next people need to wear bikinis and speedos at all times, even in winter, because, oh my your winter coat and pants covers too much !

    • I am so sorry for the delay in this response. I have just found over 50 comments that have been marked as spam going as far back as 2015. It’s possible that I have responded to this already – but I’ll answer again in case I haven’t!

      Hahaha! People just need to let others wear whatever they feel like wearing!!

  6. I just recently discovered your blog, and am considering dressing more modestly with a hijab, although I am a white Christian. There is only one problem, the people at my school. I am in 8th grade, and certain people will definitely ridicule me if I start to wear a hijab. What should I do? And where can I get a burkini?

    • Hi Grace

      Thanks for your message! I think you should feel free to dress however you want to. In these situations, I would love to give you better words of advice, but unfortunately, because I’m not a part of your personal life, that’s very difficult. I would recommend that you speak to a teacher that you trust who can help you to decide, or speak to your parents. I’m sure they would understand your desire to dress modestly. Let me know if I can help you any further.

    • I believe it’s a late reply, but anyways. Don’t care what people think. People always have a hard time to understand or accept something they are not used to see. So, relax and do what you like, girl, as long as it’s not harming you or others. Hope that helps.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.