Medical student Zeynab Alshelh, 23, travelled to France with Channel Seven’s Sunday Night program to protest a decision banning women from wearing burkinis at public beaches after the Nice terror attack in July.
Yet just minutes after she and her mother, who was also wearing the controversial full length swimsuit, arrived at the Riveria beach they were confronted by angry locals — despite the fact that the ban on the burkini in that area had been overturned by France’s highest administrative court.
“I just in all honesty thought [the ban] was ridiculous,” Alshelh told Sunday Night.
“It just doesn’t make sense to me. There’s no connection at all between the burkini and these terrorist attacks.”
Her protest comes at a time of great division in France, where the ruling Socialist Party has been attacked as being weak on terrorism. The French government used the most recent terrorist attacks in Nice, where 86 people were killed, as a catalyst for the ban.
The burkini was invented in Australia, with its inventor saying it was part of an effort to integrate Muslims into Australian society.
“I was shocked [when told about the ban], I thought they misunderstood. I thought, why would they ban something when I designed a swimsuit that was part of integration with Australian lifestyle?” Aheda Zanetti has said.