By: Sandy Hossam
No one can deny that the lively mood of the summer season unleashes our inner child that wants to break free and have fun. But is that really possible for veiled ladies all around the world?
A few days ago, the French city of Grenoble decided to close down two public swimming pools just because a number of ladies “defied the law” and got into the pool wearing a Burkini. This type of swimwear was banned in 2016 following a wave of shocking terrorist attacks.
Likewise, summer has been controversial to Egyptian women with head scarves, placing big constraints on their fun and stripping them of their most basic rights. This includes dining in a fancy restaurant or splashing in the swimming pool in a full-body swimsuit.
The Arise of the Problem:
The case of banning veiled ladies to hang-out in trendy places started exactly in 2015. A number of restaurants, hotels and resorts announced their veil-free policy, causing an outrage among the hijabi community. This act was perceived as nothing but discriminatory and unfitting.
As a result, veiled ladies called out to boycotting these venues in groups like “respect my veil”. Sharing their personal experiences, they mentioned their huge embarrassment and humiliation for having to leave the swimming pool because of their Burkini, or worse, not even being allowed to enter some places.
The Return in 2018:
The problem resurfaced in 2018 when a lady was forced to stop swimming with her children because of her Burkini in a very popular resort in Al-Ain El-Sokhna. When asked why, the manager of the place uttered the lamest of excuses accompanied by very rude hand gestures.
In her defense, the victim mentioned that the resort policies didn’t prohibit veiled women to swim. Also, she would never have guessed that her Islamic country would ban hijabis from having fun.
Again in 2019?
This year a girl revealed on Facebook that an Italian restaurant refused her booking because some of her friends were veiled. When booking, a staff member asked her if any of her friends wore hijab. As she replied with a yes, the staff member’s response was, “sorry we are fully booked”.
She continued on to write that another girl reported a similar incident. The restaurant also refused her booking for the same reasons, and all she wanted was to celebrate her birthday.
People have gone crazy after this post, attacking the place in all ways possible.
Legal Measures in Egypt:
In Egypt we don’t have a clear law that incriminates this sort of discrimination.
Although 4 years ago, former Minister of Tourism, Khaled Abbas Rami, declared the instant shut down of venues that prohibit the entrance of hijabis. Nevertheless, we still see it happening until today.