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Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Will the burkini actually help prevent lust?

CounterThe blogosphere is abuzz with discussion of the Islamically legal swimwear collection categorized under the heading 'burqini' (usually spelled 'burkini').

The item, if not the word for it, has its origins in the Australian Muslim beach community. Apparently wet suits didn't quite cut the mustard, and a form of swimwear that was both modest and practical emerged (concealing all the Islamicly shameful areas of the female form), along with the interesting name for it, which is an English combination of 'burka' (from 'burqua', an Arabic word for a garment which is 'draped' over the entire body) and 'bikini' (a French word based on the native name for an atoll in the Tropical Pacific). So far they are available in black, dark black, and off black; more fashionable versions to follow.

In this report, it turns out that the burkini was developed as a way to integrate more Muslims into the Lifeguard community; there were plenty enough of them on the beach already, but in numbers disproportionate to their representation on the lifeguard chairs. The solution was to recruit 10 male and 10 female Muslims, but is the burkini really a solution to the problem of lust? Sure, none of the beachgoers will be turned on by their 10 muslima lifeguards this way, but what's to keep the 10 muslim men from being turned on by the thong-clad topless beach babes they are charged to watch?

Well, now that both Muslim lifeguards and Muslim swimwear are available, how about a Sharia beach for all the Muslims to enjoy together in mixed company--along with anyone else willing to dress by the rules? Uncovered-only beaches may be officially sanctioned in Australia, but I have a feeling that a Covered-only Beach may be asking too much of today's legislators.

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