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Muslim group planning to host ‘burqini’ pool party told not so fast by mayor

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A French mayor has threatened to ban a private “burqini” party by a Muslim organization at an indoor swimming pool.

The mayor of Les Pennes-Mirabeau, Michel Amiel, was “shocked and angry” after learning of the event, calling it a “threat to public order” according to The Guardian.

The Speed Water Park has been reserved for the private event scheduled for Sept. 10t by Smile 13, a “social, cultural, sport and professional” association for women and children. The park is near the city of Marseille,which is home to around 220,000 Muslims.

The group’s poster for the event states the party will be exclusively for women and children, including boys under 10 years old.

Smile water poster
Image: Smile 13/Facebook

“We count on you to respect the AWRA (the body parts that must be covered according to Islamic law) and not come in a two piece (the body must be covered from the chest to the knees),” the poster reads.

“The pool park has exceptionally allowed bathers to wear burqinis and jilbab de bains,” the partial and full-body swimsuits that cover a woman’s body from head to feet.

Amiel told Le Parisien he was considering banning the event as a “threat to public order,” according to the Guardian. “This is communitarianism, pure and simple,”  he said.

“I don’t see what we’re being made to feel guilty about when we are just [practicing] our religion,” Mélisa Thivet, Smile 13 treasurer said.  “We’re in a secular country and everyone should be able to [practice] their belief as they see fit.”

In a statement, the local MP Valérie Boyer criticized the event as divisive.

“It is not an anodyne issue,” Boyer said.  “The battle of the ‘veil’ is a visible sign of fundamentalists wanting to mark their territory and subjugate women.

“Burka, chador, abaya, niqab, hijab … it doesn’t matter what you call them, they are a gender prison, a negation of the individual, an obstacle to equality, an obstacle to fraternity,” he said.

Earlier this year, Pierre Berge, fashion icon and co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent, had slammed designers who were making fashion for Islamic women, an industry estimated to be worth $260 billion.

“I am scandalized. Creators should have nothing to do with Islamic fashion,” Berge said. “These creators who are taking part in the enslavement of women should ask themselves some questions.”

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Frieda Powers

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