An event at a waterpark targeted at Muslim women who want to cover up and wear ‘burqinis’ has been slammed by French politicians. The community event at Speedwater Park, near Marseille, says women wishing to come along on 17 September must be covered from the chest to the knees.
UK Daily Mail Mayor Valerie Boyer blasted the modesty rules as going against France’s secular values and meaning ‘we accept communalism in our country’, the BBC reports.
Marine Le Pen’s Front National party said: ‘This Islamist day demonstrates… a certain number of Muslims are deciding among themselves to break away from our Republican model and put themselves outside our society.’
A Facebook event page for the burkini day, organised by Smile 13, says that although there will be male lifeguards on site, only boys under 10 are allowed to attend the day.
It asks women to ‘respect the awrah’ – by covering from their navel to their knees. It says the minimum amount of clothing allowed is a one-piece suit with a sarong or shorts.
In March, a French minister accused shops such as Marks and Spencer as being ‘irresponsible’ for selling Muslim-style fashions such as the full-body burkini.
Laurence Rossignol, the families secretary in the Socialist government, said designers were kowtowing to religious conservatives, shirking their responsibilities and promoting women’s bodies ‘being locked up’.
Women who were in favour were like ‘negroes who supported slavery’, Rossignol said.
A spokesman for M&S, which has begun selling its burkini in the UK, said it was popular with customers internationally. Marks & Spencer now stocks two styles of the full-length swimwear costing £49.50.
The suit ‘covers the whole body with the exception of the face, hands and feet, without compromising on style’ and M&S boasts: ‘It’s lightweight so you can swim in comfort.’