Antwerp women organise ‘beach party’ against burqini ban

Summary

A group of young Muslim women have requested a permit to hold a ‘beach party’ next to Antwerp’s city hall in protest at a proposed ban on hijab style of swimwear

‘Our bodies are our own’

A group of young Muslim women in Antwerp have called for a “beach party” on Saturday in protest at N-VA’s proposed ban on the burqini and at recent comments made by the city’s mayor, Bart De Wever. The event is planned to take place on Suikerrui, next to city hall.

The group has filed an application with the city, and authorities will now decide on the basis of police advice whether the event can go ahead. According to the group’s Facebook page, 233 people are planning to go, with 942 more expressing an interest.

“We are women, and we’re free,” the group said on its Facebook page. “We’re not prepared to have anyone tell us what we can or cannot wear.”

The burqini is a full-body swimsuit intended to allow Muslim women to go to the beach without exposing themselves. Earlier this week, De Wever referred to burqinis as wearable “tents”. The comments followed his party’s proposal that the burqini should be banned on Flanders’ beaches as it has been in several coastal resorts in France, most notably Cannes and Nice. 

“Our bodies are our own,” said the group, who is calling its action a st(r)a(n)dfeest, a play on words mixing “beach party” with “city party”. “We decide which area of skin should be covered or left exposed. That’s how it ought to be, with a burqini, bikini, monokini or no kini at all.”