'Burkini' about inclusion not division in Australia

Muslim models display burkini swimsuits at a shop in western Sydney on August 19, 2016Part bikini, part all-covering burqa, the burkini swimsuit has sparked huge controversy in France, but in Australia where beach culture is a national obsession, it’s seen as a symbol of inclusion, says its designer Aheda Zanetti. While Australia is grappling with a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment after a series of assaults by radicalised youth, the burqini has not attracted strong criticism in a country where people regularly cover up at beaches to protect their skin from the harsh sunshine. When Australian-Lebanese Zanetti, 48, was designing the outfit on the lounge-room floor of her home in the multicultural southwestern Sydney suburb of Bankstown more than a decade ago, her first thoughts were about how it could help girls play sports while respecting their faith as Muslims.

Share this article