Burkini ban sparks outrage across Tunisia

A woman dressed in a burkini leaves the water. [Courtesy: The Independent]
Tunisian tourism officials have banned Burkinis at hotels and beach resorts, sparking an outcry from activists who argue that the move violates rights and freedoms.

A Burkini is a type of modest swimsuit that covers all parts of the body, except for the face, hands and feet.  It’s worn by Muslim women around the world.

The North African country’s tourism officials and travel agencies say the burkini ban was imposed for hygiene reasons.

“I believe in personal freedom, but we must provide hygienic and safe conditions for our clients. The image of Tunisian hotels and the tourism sector is also at stake. The Burkini ban has not been imposed for ideological reasons,” the CEO of Traveltodo Tour Operator, Tarak Lassadi, said.

Lassadi’s sentiments were echoed by a Member of Parliament – also a renowned figure in the hotel industry.

MP Zohra Driss said she is in favor of the Burkini ban for what she describes as hygiene reasons.

However, rights activists condemned the ban, saying the Tunisian Constitution guarantees the right of women to wear the Burknini, and that no dress code can be imposed in Tunisia.

The ministry of tourism has avoided the debate, saying the problem should be resolved through dialogue between tourism professionals and the civil society.