A woman who wore a burkini to swim in a communal pool has been left feeling “disturbed” and “like an outsider” after she was asked to leave.
Living in Remraam residential community in Dubai, the American Muslim woman was swimming with her husband when the incident took place.
“I was wearing a burkini, which is a little non-traditional as the pants were not as fitting as other burkinis,” she told Gulf News.
“I wear it because of modesty reasons, and had ordered it online from a French website, and got it customised for me.”
Less than five minutes later, a lifeguard approached her following a complaint and said that if she wanted to stay in the pool she would have to wear something tighter.
The incident quickly escalated further after the resident complained for a second time to the community manager. The lifeguard approached the couple again, confirming that the issue was concerning the woman’s burkini.
Confused as to why she was being treated differently “for choosing to be modest” in a country that typically prohibits any sort of discrimination, the woman decided to involve the authorities.
“I felt like my civil rights were being tampered with and I thought that I should call the police, because at this point, Islam was involved,” she explained.
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“I was infuriated and felt like I should at least be allowed to wear modest clothing in a Muslim country.”
After speaking with the police and community manager in Remraam, the couple were assured that action would be taken to ensure the incident does not happen again.
Accordingly, Taziz, the management company in charge of Remraam, have since said that the incident was a ‘misunderstanding’ and that their lifeguards have been sensitised with a full educational program about modest swimwear.
The woman has also been assured that they are employing posters to clarify that burkinis are allowed to be worn in the community pool.
“It was a bad experience, but the message I would send to others is that if you see injustice speak up — don’t let it go. Respect anyone regardless of where they come from or what religion they follow,” she concluded.