Dress code

‘Bikini revolt’ sweeping Algeria amid pressure for modesty from Islamists

A group of women taking part in a 'bikini revolt' on a beach in Algeria. (Twitter)

Thousands of women in Algeria have been taking to the beaches in bikinis in protest of the growing pressure there from Islamists who want women to dress more modestly while relaxing on the beach and swimming in the ocean. A year after the burkini uproar played out resorts in French towns during the summer of 2016, an increasing number of women in Algeria have been wearing burkinis during their visits to the beach. Bikinis have not been banned in Algeria, but conservative Muslim men have been posting photos online of women at the beach wearing two-piece swimsuits and complaining that such attire is defies Algerian values, according to The Independent.

For many women in the Annaba region, on Algeria’s northeast coast, the pressure to cover up is only making them more defiant. Throughout the month of July, private Facebook groups have been organizing the protests in which large groups of women show up at beaches wearing two-piece swimwear. One Facebook group was founded by a 27-year-old woman named Sara, who went to the beach recently and ended up not removing her clothes to show she was wearing a bikini because not a single other woman on the beach was showing any skin.

It’s a trend that a member of one of the Facebook groups, speaking with the website France Info, said has become increasingly noticeable — and bothersome. “The Islamists did not come to power, but society became Islamized,” Warda, who’s in her 30s, said. “For the past two or three years, going to the beach is harder. We can sometimes find ourselves alone in a bikini, when we have always been in the majority.”

Since the Facebook groups launched, one now has more than 3,000 members and another more than 5,000. Women have been showing up on beaches defending their right to dress in whatever swimwear they prefer in what’s been dubbed a “bikini revolt.” For them, the protests have been a show of strength in numbers — and the numbers are growing.

Read the full story at The Independent.


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