French burkini ban sparks sales, says designer

Burkini bans in France have boosted sales and interest in the full-body Islamic swimsuit, particularly from non-Muslim women, the Australian credited with creating the design says.

The burkini has created controversy in France, with bans in 15 towns in the south-east and tension after deadly jihadist attacks. But Australian-Lebanese Aheda Zanetti, who claims the trademark on the name burkini and burqini, and created her first swimwear for Muslim women more than a decade ago, said on Tuesday the furore had attracted more publicity for her products.

“It’s just been so hectic,” she said.

“I can tell you that online on Sunday, we received 60 orders – all of them non-Muslim,” the 48-year-old from Sydney said. She usually received between 10 and 12 orders on Sundays.

Zanetti did not have sales figures for the rest of the past week but said she had also received numerous messages of support – and only one disparaging email – since the French bans.

They include messages from cancer survivors and other swimmers who use her lightweight, quick-drying, two-piece garments as protection from the sun.

There are other Islamic swimsuits but Zanetti has said her designs are the first to be streamlined into two-piece swimwear with a head covering.

“A lot of the correspondence … was that they are survivors of skin cancer and they’ve always been looking for something like this, saying, ‘Thank god we’ve found someone like this producing such a swimsuit,’ ” she said.

“The support I’m getting is somehow about empowering women … I feel like I’ve been a counsellor. It’s a cry of need that they want to have this enjoyment.

“Women are standing together on this. It doesn’t matter what race or religion.”

The one critical email questioned why Zanetti wanted to cover up women in France, saying “we prefer our women to be naked”.

 

Was Orlando Shooter Really Acting for ISIS? For ISIS, It’s All the Same

The revelation that the 29-year-old man who opened fire on Sunday in a gay nightclub had dedicated the killing to the Islamic State has prompted a now-familiar question: Was the killer truly acting under orders from the Islamic State, or just seeking publicity and the group’s approval for a personal act of hate?
For the terror planners of the Islamic State, the difference is mostly irrelevant.
Influencing distant attackers to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State and then carry out mass murder has become a core part of the group’s propaganda over the past two years. It is a purposeful blurring of the line between operations that are planned and carried out by the terror group’s core fighters and those carried out by its sympathizers.

Nigerian pop singer and UN Ambassador of Peace Adokiye offers virginity to Boko Haram for missing girls

June 26, 2014

Nigerian pop singer Adokiye has caused a social media storm by offering her virginity to Islamic militants Boko Haram in exchange for the return of hundreds of kidnapped schoolgirls. A total of 276 girls were taken from the largely Christian north-eastern town of Chibok by the rebels, led by Abubakar Shekau, in April. The majority of the schoolchildren remain missing, despite international pressure for their safe return – including the celebrity-endorsed #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign backed by Michelle Obama and David Cameron, among others.

However, the 23-year-old musician and actress from the country’s Imo State, who is also a UN Ambassador of Peace, took the protest to the next extreme. “It is just unfair. They are too young. I wish I could offer myself in exchange. They are between 12 and 15 year old girls for Christ sake. I am older and more experienced. Even if 10 to 12 men have to take me every night, I don’t care. Just release these girls and let them go back to their parents.” she told Nigerian publication Vanguard.

Her comments received a mixed reaction via social media. Some fans praised her offer as “brave” and branded her a “hero”: Others, however, interpreted her bold statement as an opportunistic publicity stunt.

Madonna wears traditional Muslim niqab veil because it’s been ‘that kind of day’

June 25, 2014

Madonna’s having a bad day, so decides to wear a niqab. While most people would maybe don a pair of tracksuit bottoms or a baggy T-shirt, the singer chose to wear a traditional Islamic headscarf to get her through what she describes as “that kind of day”. She shared the picture on Instagram, along with the perhaps ill-advised words: “#unapologeticbitch” – as if to pre-empt any possible backlash, which would of course be likely. Not that she cares; she’s “unapologetic”.

Both the burqa and the niqab refer to the principle of modesty, and for some are a statement of religious and cultural identity. Madonna, if her statement is anything to go by, seems to treat it like a lazy day onesie. She has dabbled in Muslim veil-wearing before – in July last year she shared an Instagram picture of herself wearing a chain mail mask, with the caption: “The Revolution of Love is on… Inshallah [Arabic for ‘God willing’].”