Egypt’s bikini vs. burkini battle heats up

In Egypt, swimming in resorts while wearing a burkini is a controversial issue. (File photo)
Updated 16 August 2017
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Egypt’s bikini vs. burkini battle heats up

CAIRO: Summertime is when the debate on whether burkinis are allowed in Egyptian resorts heats up.
In Egypt, where many women don the Islamic headscarf, swimming in privately owned resorts while wearing a full-body swimsuit is a controversial topic.
This summer, the government reversed its decision to allow women in pools and on beaches to wear burkinis, authorizing resorts to decide whether to ban the conservative swimwear.
Tourism Ministry official Ali Ghoneim expressed concern that the debate could have negative implications for the tourism industry.
“Egyptian resorts respect the culture of all its guests as long as it doesn’t harm others,” he told Arab News.
After some hotels began turning away burkini-wearing guests from pools and beaches, the ministry stepped in to allow the swimwear, saying: “Burkinis are allowed as long as they are made of the same material as bikinis.”
But in less than 24 hours it backtracked, saying it is legal for resorts to decide for themselves depending on “the type of tourists they receive,” Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported.
Many hijab-wearing women have expressed anger over the reversal, saying the authorities should be protecting personal freedoms as per the law.
Those against the policy say it violates the constitution, which prohibits discrimination based on sect, gender, religion or belief.
Others believe the issue is about money, not politics. “The power to lift the burkini ban doesn’t lie with the government,” wrote one Facebook user.
“Like everything else in Egypt, it lies in money. Hotels will only lift the burkini ban if you, the customer, refuse to go to their establishment because of their discriminatory rules.”


UAE minister: Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time

Updated 17 min 13 sec ago
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UAE minister: Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time

  • Gargash, speaking to reporters in Dubai, estimated the number of Houthi fighters in Hodeidah at between 2,000 to 3,000
  • The UN envoy for Yemen carried a plan to halt fighting around the key aid port of Hodeidah where Houthi militia have been battling a regional coalition as he arrived Saturday in the militia-held capital Sanaa

DUBAI: The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-aligned Houthis for control of Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah will take a “calculated and gradual” approach to the battle, a senior United Arab Emirates official said on Monday.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the military alliance led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE was taking into consideration a “fragile humanitarian situation,” avoiding civilian casualties in addition to military calculations.

Gargash, speaking to reporters in Dubai, estimated the number of Houthi fighters in Hodeidah at between 2,000 to 3,000. He declined to reveal the size of coalition forces but said they had “numerical superiority.”

He said that the Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time.

Gargash added that the Hodeidah port is a “major artery” for weapons smuggling from Iran to the Houthis.

“The liberation of Hodeidah is a major step in freeing Sanaa,” the UAE minister said, adding that “the roads leading to the port are filled with mines.”

France is said to be helping the Arab coalition in demining the roads.

“We have opened the road from Hodeidah to Sanaa to allow the militias to flee without resistance,” Gargash said.

The UN envoy for Yemen carried a plan to halt fighting around the key aid port of Hodeidah where Houthi militia have been battling a regional coalition as he arrived Saturday in the militia-held capital Sanaa for emergency talks.

Martin Griffiths was expected to propose to militia leaders that they cede control of the Red Sea port to a UN-supervised committee and halt heavy clashes against advancing government troops backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

(With AFP - Reuters)