BERN — A Swiss court ruling against exempting Muslim students from compulsory, mixed swimming classes has sparked a hot debate over respecting the religious beliefs of minorities. “Muslim students in Europe should be granted the right to take swimming lessons that fit their religious beliefs,” Chakib Benmakhlouf, head of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), told

“Some Western countries violate the principles of freedom by laws and court rulings that transgress on the rights of their minorities.” Continue Reading »

Muslim Swimwear from ZEHBA.COM

Muslim Swimwear from ZEHBA.COM

RALEIGH, N.C. — Salman Sheikh was organizing a swim class for his two sons last summer when fellow Muslim parents approached him about starting a class for girls. Sheikh told them he would ask the Curran Aquatic Center in Cary, N.C., whether it could accommodate a group of Muslims who preferred a women-only pool. Yes, of course, the leaders of the aquatic center said, and showed him a 15-yard pool that could be rented for $170 an hour.  Problem was, the small pool overlooked a larger, Olympic-size pool, and Sheikh wondered whether the center could provide blinds to cover the windows and shield the women from onlookers. Continue Reading »

Rimma Bawazier

“Teach your sons/daughters swimming, riding horses and throwing arrow” – Prophet Mohammed ( Peace be upon him)

For some Muslim women, going to the pool or beach used to be difficult because of Islam’s traditional emphasis on modest dress — but no longer. Thanks to new full-body swimsuits developed specifically with these women in mind, Muslim girls and women may be poolside more often.

These are an updated version of full-body swim wear which has been around for decades but complies with Islam’s traditional emphasis on modest dress. They also increasingly stylish, intricate sequin designs with miniskirts that go over long pants.

In many Muslim countries, the sexes are commonly separated in pools and on beaches. In America, however, these places are predominantly co-ed, which means some Muslim women have to abide by their personal beliefs about modesty. There are no explicit rules that would cover all Muslim cultures at all times . It’s not as if a woman who wears a regular bathing suit is not a traditional Muslim. It’s individual taste. You’ll find a wide variety of swimwear on Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The polyester, nylon and Lycra material allows for flexible movement in the water and does not stick to the woman’s body when she exits the ocean or pool.

Most Muslim women purchase three-piece suits, according to Indonesia’s major player in Muslim apparel industry, ZEHBA. The suits now being made are increasingly fashionable in moderate muslim countries like Indonesia and Malaysia were they are marketed using professional models. Rimma Bawazier, Indonesia’s favourite television host is the brand ambassador for ZEHBA. The great thing is that they don’t absorb water and they are very light and they’re thin, so they’re safe and very comfortable. For many Muslim women, these suits offer the only alternative to wearing regular clothes when swimming.

Aheda Zanetti, a lebanese australian sells her burqinis (Burkha + Bikini = Burkini) for up to A$200 ($160), hopes to widen the garment’s appeal beyond Muslim women at the beach.

Shereen Sabet, who founded Splashgear, an online swimwear store for Muslim women, based in Huntington Beach, Calif says “Nothing in the Quran says women and men can’t swim or scuba dive together. It’s just a question of finding a solution”. Today, about a dozen stores, based in the United States and abroad, sell swimwear to Muslim-American women, mostly through online catalogs. A full suit can cost more than $100, with pants around $60, shirts at $25 and water scarves and hoods about $15.

In the past, religious women in Turkey either didn’t go to the beach or wore regular street clothing into the water. Most women at beaches in secular Turkey wear Western-style bathing suits. One of the top company producing Islamic bathing suits, Hasema, he can’t produce them quick enough to keep pace with demand. The company exports to Egypt, North America, England and Australia. Mehmet Sahin said he founded the company, because of his own problems on the beach as a university student.

In Egypt swim suites for muslim women is better known as “Sharia swimsuit”. It is part of a growing industry catering for religiously-observant women. It is no longer mainly the westernised elite that can afford such leisure activities as swimming. In such a conservative society, many women have until now either had to sit on one side or go into the water in their clothes. To them, the “Sharia swimsuit” offers one solution. It is a high-necked, swimming costume with sleeves and a small skirt, to be worn over long trousers.
However, the highest religious authority for Sunni Muslims, Al-Azhar, does not recognise the new swimming costume.

One of its clerics, Sheikh Mahmoud al-Hanafi, says there is no such thing as an Islamically-acceptable swimsuit – the only thing Sharia law recognises is Islamic dress that is meant to protect women from what he calls “gossiping eyes.”

There are a number of factors to consider when selecting sun protection swimwear. The most important factors affecting sun protection are skin coverage, fabric, and fit. Sun protective swimwear is typically used in a highly intense UV environment – at the beach or at the pool during summer. The best approach to protection from the sun in this environment is a combination of SPF swimwear, sunscreen, and shade. As a general rule, the greater skin coverage through uv protection swimwear, the less the area that needs to be protected by sunscreen that wears off and needs to be continually reapplied. UV protective swimwear that fully covers your shoulders and arms like swim shirts (and swim tights for legs) is the best choice for guaranteed all-day protection.

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Before looking at these tips and heading off to buy your beach dress, find a full-length mirror. Do the little dance you do when you are assessing yourself in the mirror; turn, pivot, and pose. What you should try to do is to look at negative space. Hold your arms out to the side and look at your waist, hips and bust. Doing this will give you a quick idea of what to look for when purchasing your swimwear, beach dress, or any outfit for that matter. Another way to do the little check is to actually measure your bust, waist and hips. Finding the right clothing for your figure is about using geometry.

The criteria in choosing the right swim suites are cut, color, pattern, and material. Cut is the most important among this. It’ll formulate or destroy your body’s steadiness and proportion. Color, patterns and material add the finishing touches. Continue Reading »

Two Islamic apparel exhibitions were simultaneously held in Tehran in line with the policies of Ahmadinejad administration to promote the observance of hijab. Reyhaneh Islamic Clothing Exhibit held at Tehran’s Mosalla (prayer grounds) during July 13-22, was reportedly not much successful. However, the other exhibition designated “The Women of My Land“ was received with public enthusiasm thanks to featuring new colorful designs inspired by Islamic and Persian culture. Continue Reading »