Banning of burquinis is a step towards depriving Muslim women of equal citizenship expert suggests

The recent banning of the ‘burquini’ in Cannes is a step towards depriving Muslim women of equal citizenship, according to Dr Saeeda Shah (pictured) from the School of Education.

Dr Shah has written an article for Think: Leicester, the University’s platform for independent academic opinion, outlining how banning clothing by measuring it against secular and religious criteria is simplistic and problematic, and ignores how the hijab and dresses covering the body are being increasingly perceived by Muslim women as enablers in public spaces, such as in the Rio Olympics.

In the article Dr Shah says: “Traditional Muslim dress covering head and body is not just an identity statement, for many Muslim women it signifies empowerment and equality. Turning this into a secular versus religious or secular versus Islam issue can be detrimental to societal cohesion and peaceful co-existence in the emerging societies where increasingly people have not only to live with diversity but to learn to understand and respect diversity.”

In an interview with Nathan Ifill from the University of Leicester News Centre, Dr Shah revealed her thoughts on the ban: Why she believes that the swimwear empowers Muslim women, how banning such clothing can damage societies, and why she believes that a campaign against Islam is being built.