East London Three Faiths Forum’s Khola Hasan: Burkini swimsuits are about women having a choice
PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 April 2016
A Muslim leader has dismissed criticism of a controversial swimsuit after a fashion mogul called the garment “abominable”.
East London Three Faiths Forum’s Khola Hasan, from Clayhall, who herself owns a burkini, spoke to the Recorder after Yves Saint Lauren co-founder Pierre Bergé sparked international debate after speaking on French radio station Europe 1.
It comes after retailer Marks & Spencer launched its own burkini range.
The businessman said: “Creators should have nothing to do with Islamic fashion.
“Designers are there to make women more beautiful, to give them their freedom, not to collaborate with this dictatorship which imposes this abominable thing by which we hide women and make them live a hidden life.”
But Khola said: “It’s very popular in the Muslim community and I have got one myself.
“I don’t have a problem with it at all. I think it’s odd when people see it as oppressive when people have a choice in what they wear – it doesn’t make any sense.”
The speaker, who is an executive member of the forum, said she bought a swimsuit, which covers from head to ankle, because alternatives made her feel “uncomfortable”.
“It’s not just Muslims – I have seen Jewish and Christian women use it too. There are women of no faith who use it because they want to be covered,” she said.
“I don’t think anyone should have a problem with a woman’s choice.”
Asif Tufail, 32, of Islamic clothing specialist Islamic Impressions, Ilford Lane, Ilford, also sells the “popular” garments.
“I take it very positively – it’s a fantastic idea,” he said.
“The demand is there and it’s about having more freedom. It’s about having a choice.”
A Marks & Spencer spokeswoman said: “M&S provides a wide range of quality swimwear offering our customers lots of choice.
“We have sold this item for a number of years and it is popular with our customers internationally.”
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