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The New Arab

Wear what you want now: Egypt bans the ban on Burkinis

A protest in support of the Burkini outside the French embassy in London [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 August, 2017

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The Egyptian Hotel Association issued an order early August banning hotels from preventing Hijab-wearers from accessing their pools and allowing all women to wear what they want.
The Egyptian ministry of tourism has placed a ban against hotels enforcing a ban on the burkini. 
The new order allows all women to wear what they want at the poolside - ending a debate that has continued in Egyptian society for at least a year.

"The ministry bans all hotels from preventing Hijab-wearers from entering swimming pools in costumes that cover the entirety of their bodies," read the order, signed by the deputy director of the Egyptian Hotel Association, Sameh al-Jaraf.

The vast majority of women in the Muslim-majority country wear the Hijab and therefore choose to wear the Burkini out of religious piety – however some high-end hotels have banned the Burkini on fashion grounds.
Hotel Association order
[Click to expand] A copy of the order

Egyptian Facebook users have commented on a culture in some private pools and hotels where the burkini is seen as 'regressive' and unfashionable in the eyes of high-society.

The issue came to a head in August 2016 after a group of women filmed a hotel manager mocking a woman in a burkini.

"How can you swim in the pool with this thing on? Go swim with it anywhere else," he said.

The video inspired thousands of views and sparked debate on social media over the treatment of women who wear burkinis in Egypt.

One Facebook user reported feeling more comfortable wearing the swimsuit in Europe than Egypt.

Read more: Lindsay Lohan covers up with Burkini on Thai beach

"Veiled women are considered second-class citizens," said Pakinam Nasser, a financial planner in Cairo.

Last week, a woman was assaulted and ejected from the swimming pool at the Hacienda Bay resort near Alexandria for wearing a burkini.

France banned the Burkini in August 2016 in a new law which critics called a "sexist attack on human rights".

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