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Women with burkini in the water
Bathing fun with burkini

The burkini is a two-piece swimwear for women that covers the entire body except for the face, hands and feet.

Term and description

“Burkini” is a suitcase word made up of burqa and bikini . Like the English spelling Burqini, it is a word created by the fashion designer Aheda Zanetti . Both are registered trademarks ( Registered Trademark ) of their company Ahiida Pty Ltd .

The word “burkini” has established itself in everyday language as a generic name for all such swimwear for Muslim women.

Outwardly, burkinis resemble a mix of historical bathing dresses and modern diving suits . Both parts of the burkini are made of the same elastic material as traditional swimsuits . Two-layer constructions with a fold-throwing, fluttering upper layer in the area of ​​the upper body hide or conceal the contours of the body. There are similar suits for female athletes in other disciplines, which are used by runners and judoka, for example.


In Egypt such swimsuits came onto the market from 2000 under the names sharia swimsuit and swimming hijab . The burkini is known as Haşema (1993) in Turkey and Splashgear in the United States .

Also in other religions, such as B. in Orthodox Judaism , wearing swimwear that covers most of the body is already common.

The opening of the Australian lifeguard service to Muslims, and Muslim women in particular, inspired the Lebanese-Australian designer Aheda Zanetti to create a swimwear to match, thus establishing the name by which this type of swimwear is best known today.


In the past, many Muslim women swam or bathed in public bathing establishments, in the lido or in the sea, either fully clothed or not at all. In the course of the " Islamic awakening " it became easier for women in Islamic countries to swim or bathe in a hasema, a burkini or something similar. The burkini is still rarely found, but there is a demand because it enables Muslim women to participate more professionally (lifeguard), athletic ( Olympic Games , World Championships ) and school (swimming lessons).


The Haşema is controversial in Turkey. For example, the Mayor of Gazipaşa , Cem Burak Özgenc, banned a woman with Haşema from entering the municipal swimming pool. The Turkish journalist and TV presenter Reha Muhtar described the Haşema as "bizarre" in a column in the Sabah newspaper in 2005 . In a column in the Hürriyet newspaper , Ahmet Hakan found the full-body suits "stupid, ridiculous and tasteless," whereupon Mustafa Karaduman, founder of Tekbir Giyim, the largest Turkish chain for Islamic-style clothing, accused him of being a bad Muslim . Some beach operators deny Haşema porters access to their beaches. In addition, women who wear burkini sometimes wear additional clothing such as leggings, cotton T-shirts or underwear. This could be dangerous for inexperienced swimmers, because such clothing could soak up and make swimming difficult.


On September 11, 2013, the Federal Administrative Court (BVerwG) in Leipzig ruled that Muslim schoolgirls could not regularly request exemption from coeducational swimming lessons if they had the option of wearing a burkini. In December 2016, the Federal Constitutional Court dismissed a constitutional complaint by the girl.

The Germanist Peter Kühn describes the public dispute as a "proxy debate". Proponents of the burkini see it as a symbol of self-determination, while critics see it as a symbol of patriarchy and discrimination against women.

In some cities - for example in Koblenz - the burkini is banned. The reason is: You cannot see "whether the wearer has open wounds or a contagious rash". "Swimsuits, long swim shorts and even wetsuits , on the other hand, are still expressly allowed." In June 2019, the Rhineland-Palatinate Higher Administrative Court ruled in an urgent procedure that the city of Koblenz's ban on burkinai was illegal because it violated the principle of equal treatment .


In France there is a ban on veiling . The headscarf controversy was carried out in the media; there is a ban on public service employees and, since 2004, also on schoolchildren. There was an initial ban on bathing with burkini in 2009. On July 28, 2016, the city of Cannes banned the wearing of burkinis on the beach by decree. It is not about banning the wearing of religious symbols on the beach, "but about ostentatious clothing that indicates membership of terrorist movements that are at war against us," said the director general of the city services. This was followed by a ban in Villeneuve-Loubet on the grounds that it was unsanitary to swim fully clothed. A short time later, the mayor of Sisco in Corsica announced a ban after clashes between North African immigrants and locals. The French cities of Leucate , Oye-Plage and Le Touquet-Paris-Plage also forbade wearing full-body swimsuits when bathing in the sea. On August 26, 2016, the French Supreme Administrative Court suspended the burkini ban imposed in Villeneuve-Loubet. It is a fundamental decision. The judges found that the provocation and disturbance of public order alleged by the mayor had not been proven in the specific case.


Although the burkini is generally not prohibited in Austria, the topic has been discussed again and again for years. So far there is no clear regulation for swimming with the burkini, so that each bathing establishment can set its own regulations. The bathing establishments refer to hygiene regulations when leggings and T-shirts made of cotton are used for purposes other than burkini. Most bathing establishments see no problem with a "real burkini" made from a synthetic swimsuit fabric. Since 2019 there has been a ban on headscarves for children up to the age of 10. This law also includes the ban on wearing the burkini in swimming lessons for the corresponding age group.

Web links

Commons : Burkini  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Burkini  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. The surprising Australian origin story of the 'burkini'. Washington Post, August 17, 2016; accessed on December 10, 2016.
  2. Examples: Swimmer, Judoka ( Memento of the original from March 3, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Sprinter , rower ( memento of the original dated February 14, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Soccer player , soccer game . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.elentir.info @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / weekly.ahram.org.eg
  3. a b Caroline Hawley: Warm welcome for Sharia swimsuit . BBC News, September 5, 2000.
  4. Urmee Khan: It's not itsy bitsy-, it's not teeny-weeny - it's the burkini . The Guardian, Nov. 28, 2006.
  5. Splashgear - Modest Full Coverage Swimwear .
  6. ^ Seriously, What Orthodox Women Wear to the Beach Is No Different From a Burkini. Retrieved February 6, 2019 .
  7. Refreshing bath only in full body suit. Retrieved February 6, 2019 .
  8. ^ Bathing in a burkini. Aheda Zanetti is the designer of a “Muslim” swimsuit. , Deutschlandradio on July 31, 2006;
    The swimwear of the Muslims. Die Welt on January 17th, 2007.
  9. Annette Gross Bongardt: Turkey in Transition. Less Europe, More Islam . Spiegel Online International, November 2, 2006.
  10. Jennifer Cutraro: Muslim Athletic Wear Covers Skin Without Cramping Style . National Geographic News, April 27, 2006
    "There is a demand for modest swimwear." Shereen Sabet is a distributor of swimwear for Muslim women . Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, June 10, 2007.
  11. Alcohol-free zones for the devout . ( Memento of the original from June 9, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ORF News. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / orf.at
  12. Vaybee: En vogue - Islamic correct bathing suits. In Turkey, more and more bathing beauties dressed in the correct Islamic manner are mingling with the beach folk. .
  13. Tekbirgiyim Europe - Islamic fashion for the covered woman ,
    Vaybee: Headscarf instead of bikini: Turkish models commissioned by the Islamic clothing company Tekbir Giyim .
  14. Amberin Zaman: Islamic-Style Swimsuits Give Women Freedom to Dive In . ( Memento of the original from June 9, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Los Angeles Times, Aug 21, 2005 on WorldWide Religious News. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.wwrn.org
  15. Burkinabe ban in Dortmund indoor swimming pools , RuhrNachrichten Dortmund from February 22, 2012, accessed February 25, 2012.
  16. Press release of the BVerwG Leipzig No. 63/2013: Burkini ruling - No entitlement of a Muslim student to exemption from coeducational swimming lessons , BVerwG 6 C 25.12 ruling of 11 September 2013.
  17. ^ Swimming lessons in "Burkini" for Muslim girls reasonable , In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
  18. Muslim women have to take swimming lessons , In: Süddeutsche Zeitung.
  19. Swimming lessons: Turkish community welcomes Burkini judgment , In: Spiegel Online.
  20. Sueddeutsche.de:Verfassungsgericht: Muslim schoolgirl must take part in swimming lessons , December 7, 2016.
  21. Peter Kühn: Symbolizations, stereotypes and stigmatizations in chat communication: The burkini - a swimsuit with a symbolic effect . In: Hamid Reza Yousefi, Klaus Fischer (Ed.): Interculturality . Nordhausen 2010, pp. 259-285.
  22. Koblenz forbids burkinis in swimming pools. On: swr.de from December 17, 2018
  23. Augsburger Allgemeine: Court judgment: Burkini ban in swimming pools is illegal. Retrieved June 22, 2019 .
  24. French pool bans 'burkini' swim , bbc.co.uk, August 12, 2009, accessed August 26, 2016.
  25. liberation.fr August 12, 2016: A Cannes, le maire prend la pose sur le burkini .
  26. spiegel.de .
  27. Angelique Chrisafis: "Corsican mayor bans burkini after violence at beach and protests" Guardian, August 15, 2016.
  28. tagesschau.de. "Other cities in France impose burkini bans". tagesschau.de. Accessed August 17, 2016. https://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/burkini-verbot-103.html .
  29. Supreme Administrative Court prohibits the burkinabe in Spiegel Online, August 26, 2016.
  30. ^ Burkini: Islamic bathing in Austria. In: Wien.ORF.at. Wien.ORF, July 22, 2015, accessed on June 30, 2020 .
  31. a b How Vienna's baths deal with burkinis. In: Wien.ORF.at. Wien.ORF, May 26, 2017, accessed on June 30, 2020 .
  32. Wiener Zeitung Online: Burkinabe ban for elementary school girls. In: Wienerzeitung. at. Wiener Zeitung, accessed on June 30, 2020 .