Fashion-conscious young Muslim women are well aware that in western societies, covering up is often considered more scandalous than baring all. Jane Paulick reports
Sport-minded Muslims like to quote the Prophet Mohammad, who said, “Teach your children swimming, archery and horse-riding.” As far as the former is concerned, the difficulty is reconciling it with the Quran’s instruction to both men and women to dress modestly.
It’s a dilemma that Nele Abdallah decided she couldn’t ignore. Five years ago, she went on holiday to the Mediterranean. She’d recently converted to Islam, and hadn’t given much thought to what that meant in terms of beachwear.
“The sun was shining and everything was wonderful, but it was my first summer holiday with a headscarf, and I just hadn’t realized it was going to be a problem,” she recalled. “But without suitable swimwear, I couldn’t go in the water.”
When she returned to Germany she wasted no time partnering with the Australian company Ahiida and set up a mail-order business called Dressed to Swim that sells “burkinis,” which cover the body from head to ankle and look a bit like loose, hooded wet suits.
Categories: Women Rights