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Woman in a burqini

A burqini (or burkini; portmanteau of burqa and bikini) swimsuit is a type of swimsuit for women, designed in Australia by Aheda Zanetti.[1]


The design is intended to accord with Islamic traditions of modest dress. The suit covers the whole body except the face, the hands and the feet, whilst being light enough to enable swimming. It resembles a full-length wetsuit with a built-in hood, but is somewhat looser and made of swimsuit material instead of neoprene.[2] Zanetti's company Ahiida owns the trademarks to the words burqini and burkini, but they have become generic terms for similar forms of Islamic swimwear.[3]

Other styles of "Islamic" swimwear include the veilkini and MyCozzie brand.[4] Zanetti criticized the mycozzie suit, claiming it used lycra and was unsafe. This was disputed by the designer of the mycozzie swimsuit.[5]


In August 2009, a woman in France was prevented from swimming in a public pool wearing a burqini, amidst ongoing controversy about Islamic dress. The action was justified by reference to a law that forbids swimming in street clothes.[6] In August 2016, the mayor of Cannes banned the swimsuits, citing a possible link to Islamic extremism.[7] Several other French towns, including Nice subsequently joined the ban.[8] The ban has been supported by a number of French politicians, from the president of the anti-immigration National Front party Marine Le Pen to the socialist prime minister Manuel Valls, and prompted criticism and ridicule both in France and abroad, particularly in English-speaking countries.[9][10][11]

In 2014 some private pools in Morocco's tourist hotspots prohibited the use of burqini citing "hygiene reasons", which sparked a political controversy.[12]


Notable wearers have included Nigella Lawson,[13] who wears a burqini not out of religious observance but to protect her skin.

The Burqini has also found popularity in Israel, both among the Jewish-Haredi and among Muslims, and is called either Burqini or simply "Modest Swimwear" [14]

In Australia the burqini has been worn by female beach lifeguards.[1][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The surprising Australian origin story of the burkini", Sydney Morning Herald, 19th August, 2016. Retrieved 21st August 2016.
  2. ^ Taylor, Rob (2007-01-17). "Not so teenie burqini brings beach shift". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  3. ^ Adam Taylor (Aug 17, 2006). "The surprising Australian origin story of the 'burkini'". Washington Post. 
  4. ^ "Filling void in modest swimwear". Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  5. ^ Chandab, Taghred (2009-08-30). "Itsy bitsy teeny weeny burqini design battle". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  6. ^ "French pool bans 'burkini' swim". 2009-08-12. Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  7. ^ "Cannes bans burkinis over suspected link to radical Islamism". BBC News. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2016. 
  8. ^ "Nice joins growing list of French towns to ban burqini". The Local.fr. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  9. ^ Christina Okello (Aug 19, 2016). "France's burkini row revives debate on Islam and secularism". RFI. 
  10. ^ "Critics say France's ban on beach burkinis absurd, illogical, raises questions over French way of integration". AFP/The Straights Times. Aug 20, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Burkini bans cause ripples in France, consternation abroad". AFP/Bangkok Post. Aug 18, 2016. 
  12. ^ "No Burkinis! Morocco hotels ban 'halal' suit". Al Arabiya News. August 26, 2014. 
  13. ^ Jones, Lucy (2011-04-19). "Nigella Lawson's burkini: can you blame her? by Lucy Jones at telegraph.co.uk/". Blogs.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ "Why do some people find the burkini offensive?", BBC, 20th August 2016. Retrieved 21st August 2016.

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