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Burqini Swimwear for Muslim Women

Updated on June 19, 2012

Burqini or Burkini Swimwear

Rarely do garments turn into a political controversy, sparking off a worldwide debate, but the burqini swimwear has done just that. A portmanteau of burqa (a form of headdress worn by Muslim women) and bikini, burqinis have gained controversial fame since Carole, a 35 year old French woman, was thrown out of a public swimming pool in France for wearing a burqini swimwear. The official reason given for Carole being thrown out of the pool was due to it being “unhygienic”. We take a look at the makers of the burqini swimwear and explore its origins.

Designed by Jenny Nicholson for a Saudi princess, the swimwear is made by the same fabrics as ordinary swimsuits. When Miss Nicholson saw the potential in marketing the swimwear, she launched a line of burqinis sold mainly in Dubai and the UAE. The swimwear was designed not only for Muslim women in mind (who believe in wearing modestly in public), but also suitable for women who needs more UV protection since they have sensitive skin and for women who are not comfortable wearing bikinis.

Burqini Swimwear
Burqini Swimwear

A company in Australia, Ahiida, has also launched a line of burqinis with orders coming in from Muslim countries and even non-muslim countries and non-muslim customers from Britain, NewZealand and North America. Aheeda Zanetti, the creator of burkinis five years ago was enraged the burqini has been banned in pools in France. Testimonials have poured into these websites since it has gained worldwide recognition, with many praising the innovation and originality of a modest looking swimwear.

Testing Burqini

While France has gone on a relentless battle against burqas and burqinis, banning them outright in public, it seems the rest of the world has warmed up to the idea of modest swimwear, with many women indicating that swimwear have gotten relatively skimpier as of late. The idea of burqinis will have women of any race, creed and religion who have shied away from beaches and pools for years to put on these full bodied swimwear and bask in the water.

Since its inception, burqinis have made quite a splash in the media. Surf Life Saving Australia are looking to recruit female Muslim lifeguards in burqinis to update its image since the violent clashes between white Australian young men and Muslim youths at Sydney’s Cronulla beach. In the last summer Olympics meet, it was the first time a Muslim female took part in a swimming event, donning a full-suit burqini.

Where to buy Islamic Swimwear

With over five million Muslims in France, the largest number in a Western European country, its prime minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, has long been against burqas and its different variations. With the most number of Muslims in Western Europe, France should indeed be liberal on this matter and allow women the freedom to wear whatever they want, whenever they want. Instead of dealing it from a personal choice and freedom to wear whatever people wants, the French government has turned it into a political argument, treating the burqini like the banning of burqa.

The views of the French Prime Minister have been mostly in contrast with what the people of France think. Many in France feel that the government has turned into a nanny state, curbing what a woman can or cannot wear in public. Scores of whiplash has started on various websites, and even on the Ahiida website, some French visitors have posted comments supporting the burqini as a form of swimwear.

So, by labeling the burqini as “unhygienic”, wouldn’t that make other swimsuits “unhygienic” as well since the burqini was designed with the exact same fabric as swimsuits? Instead of giving preposterous excuses, perhaps it is time for the French government to allow its citizens the freedom to wear what they wish to wear, unless it is unethical and morally wrong. Is wearing a modestly designed swimwear wrong? Alas, I don’t think so.


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    • profile image

      Adiba Khan 

      5 years ago

      More companies like Ahiida are offering modest looking swimwears which Islamic women prefer wearing. One being EastEssence, they provide swimwear keeping in mind the needs of women, like UV protection and many more things.

    • Naima Manal profile image

      Naima Manal 

      7 years ago from NY

      Very modest swimwear!

    • muslima61 profile image


      8 years ago from manchester UK

      As a muslima and a swim coach/teacher the birkini is invaluable.. i wouldnt be able to do my job without its invention.... big thumbs up :)

      before i bought one it was usual for all of us teachers to wear our bathing costumes... one piece with a large baggy t-shirt over the top, so we were always covered as much as was possible. Although i must say for competitive swimming, the birkini is not so practical as the fastest swimmer is the most streamline with the least resistance in the water... hmmm difficult, what to do ?

    • profile image


      8 years ago from Detroit Michigan

      This is made and looks like a scuba diving outfit and it's made of the same fabric. I have been to pools and swam in yoga pants, long shirt and hijab and luckily these pools did not say anything. I did however hear other people saying things to me and my family and saying we're disgusting swimming in clothes! What's funny is some of these people were guys who were wearing t-shirts with their swim trunks. So if it's okay for them, then why isn't it okay for us muslims? Wearing clothes means that's dirty? I don't quite understand that and why it's not hygienic. If you wear a bikini that means you're clean? I don't think so! To those who say it's unhygenic to wear a burkini, how to they know that those wearing a bikini or swim trunks are clean? How do they know they shower or wash their hair? They don't! People nowadays try to find any reason to pick on us Muslims and make fun of almost everything we do. I am a revert and have been muslim for 5 years and before this, I used to wear bikini's to swim, and I honestly felt uncomfortable to show my body in front of others. And now, I personally don't want to see someone's 80% nude body while I'm swimming. To me, there's no need to show that much skin just to swim in the water. And as stated in this article, some people who aren't Muslim feel the same way and they wear the birkini but just might not wear the cap part!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i think this is superb...cant wait to get one .

    • profile image

      Mohammad Aman 

      8 years ago

      Thumbs up for this swim suit.

    • noorin profile image


      9 years ago from Canada

      I luv swimming but I do not like the exposure, thus buquini might be the right thing 4 me =) Its genuinely liberating ...


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