Tuesday, August 14, 2007
On the Beach
The battle over modern Muslim identity is being fought on the shores of the Mediterranean. This article in today’s International Herald Tribune about beaches in Egypt and the increasing pressure on women to dress more conservatively reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend who lives in Turkey. He told me that many Turkish resorts are going Islamist, putting up curtains to divide the beach between men's and women's sides, or else simply requiring the head-to-toe burquini. These resorts aren't being forced into this, they're simply responding to the market, catering to an increasingly wealthy, and increasingly devout, Turkish middle class. As in Egypt, the number of beaches where women and women and men can swim together, and where women can wear Western-style bathing suits without fear of harassment, is growing smaller.