No Burkinis please … We’re British

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    16th August, 2009



    Sounding,  and frankly LOOKING like a joke – THIS is Britain in 2009!


    I think I may be about to move to France where common sense prevails.

    Even the burkini-clad Muslims look somewhat more pleasant … smiling inanely as they run from the gendarmes.


    See below (if you’ll pardon the pun – tough if you won’t)

    The burkini – or  How the West was lost

    By James Delingpole, The Telegraph:

    The Burkini. You’d think it was a joke invention: a bit like the grotesque “Mankini” so hilariously sported by Sacha Baron Cohen on all those posters for Borat. What, after all, could be more absurd than melding the not-notably-sexy Muslim dress – the Burka – with the kind of achingly seductive kit worn by Brigitte Bardot in And God Created Woman?

    But no, the Burkini is for real. It was designed by an Lebanese Australian Aheda Zanetti to enable women in thrall to extreme Saudi-style dress codes to go swimming on beaches and in public baths without incurring a beating or instant divorce from their characteristically tolerant and cosmopolitan menfolk.

    “Practical and stylish,” is how they’re described on a BBC website. Hmm, up to a point. Practical if your primary goal is to protect yourself from box jellyfish stings; stylish, maybe, if your points of comparison are a gorilla outfit, or a Barbara Cartland pink dress, or a tent. But I do think we should be wary of viewing the burkini  in terms of a fashion story or an amusing novelty, when it also represents something more sinister. I’m sure the designer didn’t intend this, but the Burkini has become yet another weapon in the Islamist assault on Western cultural values.

    When most of us think of militant Islam, we tend to think in terms of suicide bombs on London buses, planes flying into Twin Towers and 19-year olds getting their limbs blown off by Taliban IEDs. But as any extremist Imam could tell you, there are at least two ways in which a good Muslim can further the ongoing struggle to convert the whole world from the House of War (that’s the non-Muslim world) to the House of Islam (ie global submission to the will of Allah): one (see above) is by poison or the sword; the other is by honey.

    So the Burkini is part of the honey campaign: all those parts of the Islamist war on the West that have nothing to do with killing people. This campaign includes everything from schoolgirls fighting legal battles (with the help of one Cherie Blair) to fight for their inalienable right to go to school dressed like a sack, to Muslim supermarket workers trying to dictate the terms of their employment (refusing to sell alcohol), to the ongoing campaign (apparently endorsed by our own Archbishop of Canterbury) for certain civil decisions in the Muslim “community” to be made under Sharia law. The goal is to establish the view that Islam is a religion should be allowed to trump everything, including the cultural norms of any non-Muslim society in which its adherents find themselves living.

    Why should we care if women want to dress up in burkinis? Well we shouldn’t. It’s a free country. Where we should worry very much is when, in the name of weasel concepts like “tolerance”, “respect” and Multiculturalism, the wider society is bullied into adopting similar “Muslim” (ie Saudi-style, Wahhabist) dress codes too.

    The Sunday Telegraph has provided three examples of this dangerous trend:

    Croydon council in south London runs separate one-and-a half-hour swimming sessions for Muslim men and  women every Saturday and Sunday at Thornton Heath Leisure Centre.

    Swimmers were told last week on the centre’s website that “during special Muslim sessions male costumes must cover the body from the navel to the knee and females must be covered from the neck to the ankles and wrists”

    There are similar rules at Scunthorpe Leisure Centre, in North Lincolnshire, where “users must follow the required dress code for this session (T-shirts and shorts/leggings that cover below the knee)”.

    In Glasgow, a men-only swimming session is organised by a local mosque group at North Woodside Leisure Centre, at which swimmers must be covered from navel to knee.

    This is outrageous. A public swimming pool is not a mosque. It is a secular, leisure facility designed for (and funded by) the local community. If parts of that community feel unable to use those facilities for religious or cultural reasons, well that should be their problem and no one else’s. I dare say naturists object to the trunks/bathing costume dress code operated by local public baths, too. But I don’t think any of us would think that constitutes an argument for introducing special “Nudie” hours at local swimming pools, fun though that might be.

    As I remember from my days living in East London (at the much lamented Haggerston Leisure Centre), it’s quite maddening when, after a hard week’s work, you suddenly find you can’t go for a Saturday evening swim because the pool has been set aside for the purposes of religious apartheid.

    But apart from being annoying, it’s an absolute disaster for social cohesion. The reason for home-grown Muslim suicide bombers is that British Muslims are constantly encouraged to think of themselves as being different and apart from mainstream British society. Heaven knows it’s a message they hear often enough from their Imams. Is it really something they should be hearing from their local councils and swimming baths as well?


    What was it the Prime Minister said about “common values”?

    Quote (MY BOLDING):

    “Partly the answer lies in precisely defining our common values and making it clear that we expect all our citizens to conform to them. Obedience to the rule of law, to democratic decision-making about who governs us, to freedom from violence and discrimination are not optional for British citizens. They are what being British is about. Being British carries rights. It also carries duties. And those duties take clear precedence over any cultural or religious practice.

    Asserting the duty to integrate can also be done by way of practical and symbolic measures that underscore what that duty entails.”

    Oh, sorry that was the PREVIOUS Prime Minister (December 2006, just before WinterFest … Christmas)

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    42 Responses to “No Burkinis please … We’re British”

    1. Grundoon Says:

      That cute burkini might work quite well on the windswept, frigid beaches of England but I’ll bet nobody will be wearing one on a beach in California or Florida, or Australia for that matter. But, here’s one thought that maybe the Muslim men haven’t thought of. When that burkini gets wet it will plaster itself very tightly to whatever body is underneath it. Won’t that give the unwashed masses something to drool over.

    2. beyondtheborder Says:

      I’m not a muslim, and am critical of the religion in several different ways (as I am critical of christianity, Judaism, others…). However, your ignorance about the muslim society is quite obvious, and your racism is quite flamboyant.

      Now let those people live as they will, and do some reading up on middle east history, islamic culture, and current issues in the middle east.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        NO. I will NOT let these people live as they wish in MY land when it affects my family, my friends and my country’s lifestyle! Why the hell should I?

        You are amazingly stupid.

        Aahhh! Here we go – the usual attack of the ignorant and beaten. The “you are a racist …” etc tactic. Kids in schools do it ALL the time in their ignorance and state of being defeated in the arguments.

        It doesn’t wash.

        I am no racist, nor are any of my commenters here.

        I have read as much as I want to on the Middle East. MORE than I want to, to be blunt. It’s uniquely depressing at times to have to re-set one’s mine back several centuries. I am not interested enough to waste any more of my time on some other culture which tries to impress itself on mine – mine being the culture which more than any other has shaped the western world and its values.

        The topic of the M.E. doesn’t appeal to me largely because I prefer modern-thinking, civilised western lands where men and women are treated as equals. Freedom is a bit of hang-up of mine.

        Instead of telling others about “their ignorance” why don’t you respond to those of us who say this:


        Right or wrong?

        And to people who say this:


        Reasonable or unreasonable?

        That’s what I would live by if I moved to a Middle Eastern land. Of course I never would move to most of them – the fundamentalist ANYTHING lands. I disapprove of fundamental religions/societies of ANY sort limiting people’s freedoms.

        While you’re chewing over answering instead of accusing (in your blatant ignorance) why don’t you work out which religion is causing ALL the terror in the world right now?

        A tough one, I know. But you can do it … I know you can.

        That’s it – you’re almost there.

        Now, and this will really stretch you. Explain this:


        After you’ve worked those out – go away and think before you respond here again. I have little time for fools.

    3. Arlene Says:

      I disagree with the previous commentor; beyondtheborder. The article by Mr. Delingpole and your pointing it out here is not the least bit racist. It is pointing out how “certain” women in Britain are allowed to be treated as second class citizens. It also points out that British facilities are changing their century old rules to accomodate ONE religion. I would be greatly offended by that if I happen to be a British citizen. There is something very wrong with a “public facility” barring its own citizens from swimming in a dress of their own choosing and changing the rules to accomodate a religious sect. I thought you had separation of church and state?

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        Hi Arlene,

        Thank you for the comment. Your points are what I should have made if I hadn’t seen red over the incoherent backwardness of that commenter.

        beyondthebrain is way out of order, and if British, is typical of our problems right now. They are exactly the type of know-alls who know nothing of what is happening in a creeping way to our society. There are none so blind as those who will not see. But the fact that we have ignoramouses will not prevent me from telling it like it is.

        If I went to a British swimming pool for a casual swim, which I do often, and could not enter because it was a Muslim female only burkini-clad event (for the misguided) I would see red! AGAIN!

        In fact if these people WANT trouble from non-racists like me this is the way to go about it.

        This is MY country – my swimming pools – my values – my modes of attire. NOT theirs.

        They should not be fooled. I am NOT Tony Blair and I do not have to be nice to backward cultures which have infiltrated my country and got away with it. They’d better start understanding this.

        (Just as well Stan is in France right now or he’d be having a fit at me over this, I’m sure! But sometimes there’s a straw which well … you know the rest.)

    4. keeptonyblairforpm Says:

      P.S. Good point about separation of Church & State. But not inasfar as it applies to the PC brigade. They don’t give a damn about our churches or our state. Councils and government departments today are more concerned about pleasing minorities. They’re all going to come badly unstuck one of these days.

      And you might just find me right at the front of the unstickers.

    5. keeptonyblairforpm Says:

      You want to see a racist in action? Here’s a prize one.

      Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty:

    6. Julie Says:

      To beyondtheborder,

      I am reading this blog usually every single day and I have NEVER noticed KTBfPM making a racist comment.All he is trying to do is to open the eyes of such fools and ignorantes like you.

      It just that some of us are wondering why we should except that these people, living in OUR countries, are more and more moving away from our way of life, not trying to integrate and adapt but separate and segregate.

      There is a good novella by Hanif Kureishi called: My son the fanatic.

      It deals exactly with the problem we are discussing here.There is a guy from Pakistan living in Britain.He is very well integrated. He belongs to the first wave of immigrants coming to Britain after the decline of the Commonwealth. But his son Ali, second generation of immigrants though, is drifting more and more away and is looking for his Musllim roots. He accuses his father of being “too implicated in Western civilization” and breaking the rules of Islam by driking alcohol and eating pork. It has a very interesting end. It is not a black/white story. Read it!!!!!

      Anyway,I had a argument with a Turkish man about the Israel/Palestinian issue like two days ago. He was living in MY country for over 20 years but was not able to speak MY language in a way that I was able to follow his line of argument. All I understood was that Israel is responsible for all evil things on the planet and that CIA/other secret services are blowing themselves up in Afghanistan and Iraq to dirty the name of Islam.Well the usual bull**** actually.

      When I asked him why he is living in MY country for over 20 years without speaking the language in an acceptable way,he asked ME to learn TURKISH. I mean that is RIDICULOUS.When I said to him that he is an incomer and not a HOST in MY country (and NOT vice versa) and that he is free to go home to HIS country (same argument KTBfPM mentioned as well) to speak Turkish whenever he likes, he called me a racist and stopped the conversation.

      So tell me now beyondtheborder: WHO is the racist here? The guy who is NOT accepting the culture of MY country after taking ALL benefits of it for over 20 years? Or me,asking for just a little goodwill gesture?

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        Julie – you put it so well, I have little left to add. Except to say this – Blair used to refer to the “victim mentality” of some in the Muslim community.

        All peoples of all races and backgrounds need to get over this, mainly because it is WRONG. It’s so EVIDENTLY untrue that immigrants are treated as “victims” when the dhimmi cultures they have moved into are even changing OUR cultures and habits to suit theirs.

        Would that happen if we demanded that our culture be imported with us into most Middle East lands if we emigrated there?

        A rhetorical question. We KNOW the answer.

    7. Caela Says:

      I agree with France, this is a hygiene issue! Well, in beaches, go ahead wear a burkini or whatever. But in pools, definitely not! I was never good with rules, but I’m pretty good with appropriateness: I wear a decent clothing when I’m in church, party clothes when I’m in a party, formal wear when I’m in a formal function and bikini when I’m swimming. Different clothes were designed for different reasons. It’s not racism, it’s appropriateness.

      For example, even if a university has a no dress code, it doesn’t mean that when you show up in a bikini, the professor or anybody else won’t take offense. Or someone at church who shows up in a backless top and a micro-mini skirt would be considered down-right scandalous. Tolerance goes up to a point and there’s usually a line.

      I also agree with Julie, when you are in my country, you speak my language because if I wanted to speak your language, I would’ve gone to your country. That is not racism, it’s common courtesy. That’s also why when you go to a pool, they usually post guidelines for use, which more often than not includes a dress code. Think of it as a mini-country and those guidelines are the laws of the land. You don’t have to be there if you don’t want to comply.

      • Caela Says:

        Imagine trying to swim in these. I’ll probably just sink. Also, imagine trying to save someone who is drowning wearing these…

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:


        I have realised recently that even in my British sense of security and some certainties I have now started to take offence at Muslim offence AND at their expectations from me and my country. For instance, and I make no bones about it, I don’t like the black bin liner – aka burka. For all sorts of reasons I disapprove:

        1. They intimidate non-Muslims.
        2. They flatter themselves and insult men if they think men are falling over themselves to resist them.
        3. They promote non-conversation. I have never spoken to a woman wearing a burka and probably never will. I like smiling, open-faced people.
        4. They are bad for women’s health – blocking out Vitamin D and – and thus, and more importantly for we taxpayers, costing our health services a packet to compensate for.
        5. They are bad for little Muslim girls, for all the reasons above.
        6. They are frankly RUDE to the host country.

        I’ll stop there.

        I really don’t care what people wear in their own lands. I DO care what they wear in mine. Or I do care when what they wear alters their and our behaviour to one another as human beings. Jewish clothing doesn’t – Muslim clothing does.

        As for learning English – absolutely spot on, Caela. Common courtesy. Why is that lacking when we are constantly told that Islamic values are so much better than ours? Many Muslilm women are locked up indoors and behind the veil for so long that they can’t appropriately learn. I KNOW this to be true. I am a teacher and I have experienced it over and over, and not just in the last decade. It was happening here over 20 years ago. As educators we often got the impression that many of our Muslim children only had one parent – a father – as it was only him we ever met.

        As for the pool and burkini business – if they try it anywhere near me I will be organising against it.

    8. Quietzapple Says:

      Actually it would not be surprising if the BNP’s Delingpole did favour banning the burqua.

      The German Nazis of the ’30s tried out similar prohibitions on the Jews and their cultural practices before they introduced a law to make them wear the Star of David whenever in public.

    9. Sikh copper gets 10,000 pounds over turban dispute - Page 2 - - The Thailand Forum Says:

      […] […]

    10. Amanda Makintosh Says:

      Do you really think an article like this will help with the integration of British Muslims? How can you ever expect someone to feel part of the society when you write about them in this way?

      I see a closed minded person mad because he couldn’t go swimming for an hour and a half. Never mind he has the whole of the rest of the week to go, he wanted to go NOW. To hell with the 1000’s of other people that only get an hour and a half in the whole week.

      Actually there was nothing stopping you wearing the appropriate dress code and going, but no – you prefer to slate the whole of the Muslim population online instead.

      To keeptonyblairforpm – You nailed it in one – you have never spoken to a lady wearing a burka. Why don’t you try it? Or just because they are in black means they are less of a human being than you. Did you ever feel bad at the apartheid in South Africa – well you are donning the same principles. It may surprise you to know that these women do not wear it in their house or garden so don’t worry they will not be suffering from vitamin D deficiency. It is natural to be intimidated by something that is foreign to us, but instead we could turn everything in to a positive and learn from the people we meet – Why do these ladies see fit to cover themselves completely in public??

      Caela – Tell me, it’s OK to swim in the same water as people wearing a bikini, their sweat, saliva, skin infections, urine, perhaps more…. But adding a bit of material – It’s unhygienic. Wake up to the bigger picture here on what is happening in France. Appropriateness is different for different people, just because you feel comfortable in a bikini doesn’t mean everybody does. My Grandma prefers to wear a T-shirt, my mum a swimming costume. Just because someone wants to cover everything doesn’t make that wrong – it is matter of personal choice.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        Amanda Makintosh,

        First, I’m not interested in their integration. That should be THEIR problem NOT mine.

        The time is long since up for ME to hold out the hand to incomers. They’ve HAD their opportunities – for decades now. Money, time, houses, courses, mosque building, benefits to multi-wives and families. It’s all been handed out in the name of multiculturalism. It has, not to put too fine a point on it, at least so some extent, FAILED.

        An insistence on assimilation into OUR culture should have been the position right from the start, not allowing another culture to set itself up alongside ours with the eventual aim, according to its own edicts, of replacing the host culture.

        Point two- yes, to hell with people who want to take over our public swimming pools for even 5 minutes. Give them an inch!!!!

        They need to assimilate with the rest of us in every facet of our lives, pools or not. Or get out. Simple.

        As for this puerile nonsense. You said:

        you have never spoken to a lady wearing a burka. Why don’t you try it?

        My answer? I am not that interested. In fact not interested at all. I am not standing for public office nor do I feel the need to speak to people who so clearly want to keep me at a distance.

        So I cannot and WILL not speak to someone who hides behind a cloak of intimidation in my country. If you suggest that I refuse to see her as a whole human being with an identity of her own, it may be because she isn’t a complete human being with an identity of her own. Man-made (religious) laws have diminished her freedoms. If she is happy with that, fine. Just keep her out of my range of free-thinkers and freedom-lovers.

        And btw, why doesn’t SHE talk to ME?

        Is it the case that we Brits of long-standing, of whichever colour and background ALWAYS have to make the first approach to incomers? ALWAYS have to hold out hands to others? ALWAYS? Even when nothing but a pair of eyes approaches us, an aura of silence and distance surrounding those eyes?

        ForGET it!

        Btw, as I write this I am in a secular Islamic state where I have only seen one woman in a full burkha. All the rest are absolutely normally dressed in western garb. And the people here are all lovely.

        Except that one woman. SHE is a mystery.

        Don’t know where she is now, but I won’t be hunting her down just to have a nice little chat. I couldn’t get past that cloak of separation and intimidation. It is HER land, not mine. I have not yet noticed her rushing to have a friendly chat with me.

        So, before you challenge me for my belief in non-religious secularist inclusivity, and before you throw around invalid and juvenile accusations, ask yourself why you do not expect ANY woman in a burkha to make the extra effort towards the rest of us. Even in their own lands?

        The ball’s in HER court. The burkha has made it so.

        Be rid of it.

      • Caela Says:

        Amanda — or would you prefer Ms. Makintosh? — I made it perfectly clear that it is unhygienic to do so in *public* pools. (Which means that I don’t care if they do so in their own pool or in open water.) Also, people with skin infections are not allowed to swim in public pools, as far as I know. Moreover, yes, adding a bit of material is unhygienic, that is why wetsuits are also not allowed in public pools.

        As far as France is concerned, when a woman was prevented from using the public pool in a burkini this was due to a long-standing law that prohibited many forms of swimwear from use in public pools, rather than the result of any specific political position on the garment.

        And I also know someone who did try to talk to these women in burkas. Lo and behold, they refused to talk and ran away. If you ask me people would make more effort if they do too.

        Finally, let us challenge this absurd reasoning: if, in the name of political correctness, respect for individual liberty and to make them welcome in our society, you admit that a woman may go for a walk in the street entirely covered in a veil or swim in public pools fully clothed, why not admit in the name of that same liberty the rights of nudists to take a stroll naked in the street or swim naked in public pools, showing off their privy parts? Have you tried talking to these nudist — why do they see it fit to not cover themselves in public? Don’t you think we can learn from them too? To misquote you, “just because someone does not want to cover anything doesn’t make that wrong – it is matter of personal choice”. Don’t you think these nudists have been alienated by society for far too long (clue: it’s longer than Muslims)?

        I believe there comes a time when people have to adjust to their surroundings. Suck it up and wear an acceptable bathing suit. In short, follow the rules — we all should. Why should any one be different or special? Besides, I don’t expect to be allowed to wear a bikini in Muslim countries.

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