Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ramadan Diary ~ Ramadan and the Lack of Beach Culture!

With temperatures in Fez reach above 40 degrees Celsius, one might have expected an exit in favour of one of Morocco's many beautiful beaches. No - even though it is the holiday season, it is also Ramadan. And, for some reason, Ramadan and swimming don't seem to mix.

Our special beach Reporter, Sue Bail, reports from Rabat that the beach is virtually empty.

Thankfully, she knew we would want a full report, so, appropriately dressed in a burkini,  she braved the waters of the Atlantic and reports... "It is very wet, and very cool."

You have to love such an in-depth report

Rabat beach prior to Ramadan (left) and during Ramadan (right)

So, the lack of people on the beach? Is it a religious thing? Probably not, because for someone wanting modest beachwear, the answer is a burkini.

A Lebanese-Australian designer, six years ago created the controversial burkini, says that despite the controversy she is designing a similar one for men.

Ahiida Massoud Zanetti, 41, who owns a company that specializes in Islamic swimwear and sportswear, says she first designed the Islamic swim suit while she was working as a hairdresser and added it was only meant to be for personal use.

"I wanted to swim, but since I am Muslim I can't be half naked on the beach"

"I wanted to swim, but since I am Muslim I can't be half naked on the beach," Zanetti told Al Arabiya. "So, I decided to design a bathing suit that preserves Muslim modesty."

Zanetti said it all started with friends and relatives asking her to make them what would later become nicknamed burkini, a mix between the word burka, a loose outer garment worn my Muslim women, and bikini.

The burkini covers the entire body except the face and it looks more or less like a full-length wetsuit except it is manufactured of lighter material that makes swimming easier.

According to our beach reporter, Sue Bail, it also stops sand getting into annoying places.

Zanetti said that after the huge success of the burkini she is now working on designing a similar one for men so they can look "more decent" on the beach.

"All men's bathing suits, regardless of their type, are revealing. A conservative woman with a burkini would most likely be embarrassed to see men's bodies in that way."

The male bathing suit Zanetti is designing will cover what other suits reveal thus making men look more modest and women feel more comfortable on the beach.

Despite the success she is currently enjoying, Zanetti said she was disappointed in the way the Arab media handled her project.

"Although the burkini stirred controversy in the West to the extent that some countries have banned it, not one Arab or Muslim channel or newspaper contacted me about the issue."

Meanwhile... in Verona, Italy, a Moroccan woman was asked to leave a municipal swimming pool because she was wearing a ‘burkini,’ an ‘Islamically correct’ swimsuit. The reason was that she “frightened the children.”

The same thing happened a few days earlier not far from Paris. The xenophobe right exalted, the media made comments ranging from expressing concern to amusement, while the public debated the matter. Can the ‘burkini’ really be considered a “Islamic” swimsuit? Does it humiliate women? In the meantime, in Afghanistan...

See all the Ramadan Diary excerpts - RAMADAN DIARY

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