Reply to Allison Pearson’s article on Burkini

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Mubarika Sami, London

Allison Pearson has very strong feelings about the burkini which she describes as a sister of the ugly burka. Each to their own – I don’t find the sight of a bikini particularly appealing. However, as the French courts ruled, if someone chooses to cover up or not on the beach or indeed anywhere should be an individual choice.

Ms Pearson seems to imply that poor helpless Muslim women are all forced into burkinis by their male relatives and have no mind of their own! Islam is actually the youngest and therefore most modern of the Abrahamic faiths and like these other faiths also enjoins women to dress modestly. Men as well as women are advised to dress modestly in the Quran and men are instructed first not to gaze at women.

Secularism has replaced religion to a large extent in western society but the original message in all these holy scriptures is the same no matter where the followers. Allison Pearson ignores the fact that over exposure of women’s bodies has led to body dysmorphism, unnecessary anxiety about one’s appearance from a very young age (thanks to a large part by the media) and women being treated as scantily clad objects. I find women’s bodies being used to sell men’s magazines and any old merchandise offensive and demeaning. Why is it so difficult for Ms Pearson to understand that exposing flesh on the beach for a practising Muslim woman is literally a nightmare scenario and is not ‘freeing them from a fabric prison.’

Ms Pearson’s argument of the ban promoting feminism and modernisation rings hollow. Feminism is not about taking as many clothes off as possible. It’s about women respecting themselves and other women and only then will there be true equality.

Let’s take another look at the Nice terrorist who is the apparent cause of this sudden decision to stop Muslim women choosing to dress as they wish on French beaches.

From all descriptions Bouhlel didn’t even practice Islam. He drank alcohol, took drugs, was a womanizer, ate pork and wasn’t known to visit a mosque. Hardly a model Muslim!

Lastly the UN has called on French beach resorts to lift their bans and labelled it ‘a stupid reaction’ that did not improve security but fuelled religious intolerance and stigmatisation of Muslims, especially women.


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