Burkini swimsuit inventor shocked by controversy of her design

Insight

Burkini swimsuit inventor shocked by controversy of her design

The bikini is popular on French beaches. But a different type of swimsuit, which covers nearly all skin, is banned. It’s called a Burkini.

Up to 30 towns in France have banned it saying it smacks of Islamic sharia law. Those opposed to the Burkini say it encourages subservience of women. France’s top court disagreed Friday. It ruled a ban in one town must come to an end.

Now, it’s widely believed similar court rulings will end the Burkini ban in other French cities.

CCTV’s reporter Greg Navarro interviewed the Australian inventor of the full-body Burkini swimsuit, Aheda Zanetti, who told us that she’s shocked by the controversy surrounding her design.

Burkini swimsuit inventor shocked by controversy of her design

Burkini swimsuit inventor shocked by controversy of her design

CCTV’s reporter Greg Navarro interviewed the Australian inventor of the full-body Burkini swimsuit, Aheda Zanetti, who told us that she’s shocked by the controversy surrounding her design. Zanetti created the Burkini in 2004, wanting to design something for her niece to wear while playing sports. The Lebanese-born designer has been in demand, since her full body swimsuit called the Burkini was banned on several French beaches. Zanetti’s company Ahiida owns the trademarks to the words burqini and burkini.

Zanetti created the Burkini in 2004, wanting to design something for her niece to wear while playing sports.

The Lebanese-born designer has been in demand, since her full body swimsuit called the Burkini was banned on several French beaches.  Zanetti’s company Ahiida owns the trademarks to the words burqini and burkini.

What she came up with is a full body suit with a hood that could also be used in the water. The same suit was banned in more than a dozen French towns earlier this month because leaders said the Burkini represents a militant act and a provocation.

“I think they need to do their homework and ask and debate and really find out from women if that is who they are targeting, Muslim women like myself – if that’s who they are actually targeting for a political reason, well maybe you need to sit me down and ask me am I harming anyone wearing a Burkini swimsuit,” Zanetti said.

Zanetti says all of the attention has also fueled sales, up 500% in the last week. And says she wouldn’t hesitate to wear a Burkini where it’s banned in France.

She says it should be her choice, because it’s her identity, and who she is.


Zainab Chaudry on the debate over the burqini and how Muslims see the swim suit clothing

For more about the debate over the burqini and how Muslims see the swim suit, CCTV America’s Elaine Reyes interviewed Zainab Chaudry, Maryland Outreach Manager for the Council on American Islamic Relations.