ALBUFEIRA, Portugal – In the latest episode of targeting Muslim women, two holidaying British Muslim women have been left humiliated after they were told to leave a pool in Portugal because they were wearing burkini.
“I was approached by the building security manager as someone made a complaint that I was not wearing a bikini and therefore not appropriate to be in the pool,” said Maryya Dean, who was on holiday with her her sister-in-law Hina in Albufeira, Portugal, Arab News reported on Tuesday, August 1.
“I was compared to my 9-year-old daughter who was told to stand up out of the pool to see what she was wearing which I found completely rude – I was told I should wear that to swim.”
“I was not allowed to wear swimming gear that I am comfortable in and that was actually made for women like me to wear.”
Dean added that they were also told they “must wear a bikini to follow Portuguese culture.”
She asked to see a sign that indicated the requirement for women to wear a bikini, but added that were none.
“The man then started making cultural references and said that Portuguese people wear bikinis and so should we… We were embarrassed as we came out of the pool with four children and people were watching us like we’d committed a crime,” Dean, 36, added.
Neither Dean nor her sister-in-law was wearing full burkinis, but instead covered swim suits with three-quarter length leggings and tops with sleeves down to their elbows.
“He said it wasn’t possible for me to be in the pool with clothes on, and said I must wear a bikini,” she said.
“We told him it was swimwear but he said ‘you have to wear a bikini or shorts. In Portuguese culture, it’s not acceptable.’ He said we had to abide by Portuguese culture if we were in the country.”
“We told him we didn’t wear bikinis because we weren’t comfortable in them. It was a confidence thing… But he kept repeating ‘you have to wear a bikini.’ We were feeling really humiliated.”
“I keep thinking about it. We had to do a ‘walk of shame’ back to the apartment, it was disgusting.”
A recent controversy on burkini has erupted in the wake of the French authorities’ decision to ban the swimsuit in Cannes, Corsica, Le Touquet, in July, 2016, and followed by more other French mayors.
The decision was criticized by many commentators who see burkini as something that grants so many women access to sports and experiences they would have otherwise avoided because of health, body or religious concerns.
Anger also increased after a series of photos emerged showing four police officers armed with handguns, batons and pepper spray standing around the woman who was lying on the beach wearing a blue headscarf and matching top.
On Aug. 26, 2016, the French Council of State, France’s highest administrative court, ruled that the mayors did not have the right to ban burkinis and overturned the ban.