News Comment

Sunday 4 December 2016

Why we should fight burkinis on beaches

France's objection to the burkini arises out of a love of women, not a hatred of Muslims

Allison Pearson

Published 04/09/2016 | 02:30

Wave of disquiet: A woman wearing a burkini walks in the water on a beach in Marseille as the debate about the all-covering swimsuit continues Photo: REUTERS/Stringer
Wave of disquiet: A woman wearing a burkini walks in the water on a beach in Marseille as the debate about the all-covering swimsuit continues Photo: REUTERS/Stringer

On a bathing platform in Turkey, I found myself sunbathing next to a Muslim family. The father strutted about in a pair of teeny red trunks, just visible beneath the landslide of his vast belly. The mother wore a black and orange burkini, which left only her face, hands and feet exposed. She looked like a broiling penguin, clearly suffering in the intense heat.

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Their lovely children - two girls and a boy - jumped into the water again and again, as lithe and playful as porpoises.

I gazed at the girls and wondered how long. How long before they had to put away their pretty bikinis and their Caramac tummies, how long before they would never know the bliss of sun and sea on their skin again? I gave them about two years, poor mites. No such loss of freedom or pleasure would trouble their brother.

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