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'Burqini' pool party in France called off after death threats

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'Burqini' pool party in France called off after death threats
Photo: Wikimedia commons
12:08 CEST+02:00
A hugely contentious private swimming pool party planned by a Muslim womens' group that had encouraged guests to wear "burqinis" will now not take place after all after bullets were sent to organizers.
The event, which was planned for mid-September, was cancelled after a decision by the town's mayor and the swimming centre in a bid to "calm the situation" following a strong reaction from the public. 
 
According to the organizers that reaction also included death threats being made to the Muslim organizers. One letter sent through the post contained bullets.
 
The initial reservation had been made by Muslim organization Smile 13, which presents itself as a sports and social group for women and children.
 
It had advertised an event where attendees were encouraged to respect the body parts that must be covered according to Islamic law. No men were allowed at the event but boys under 10 did have permission to attend. 
 
The group advertised that the pool park had exceptionally allowed bathers to wear burqinis and jilbab de bains, referring to partial and full-body swimsuits that can cover a woman's body from head to feet and are popular among female Muslim bathers. 
 
 
The local mayor Michel Amiens told the local France Bleu radio station on Tuesday that he had pulled the plug to "calm the situation".  
 
"The manager of the pool had not considered the sheer emotion that organizing this event could generate," he said.
 
"We saw the reactions on social networks that were completely outrageous, Islamophobic, xenophobic, and racist, which I totally condemn, but given the circumstances, we have to cool things off."
 
Indeed, the organization behind the pool party, Smile 13, said that its members had even been sent death threats after news of the party broke out. 
 
"It's with astonishment and regret that we have noted the extent of this controversy," the group said on Facebook. 
 
"The situation has become surreal, from insults, incessant journalist requests, and death threats to members of the team," the group wrote.
 
It added that someone sent a letter to one of the members containing bullets. 
 
The statement stressed that the organization was an open and tolerant one, "including women from different backgrounds regardless of their religious and clothing choices". 
 
It also expressed amazement that the event, which was supposed to be "a moment of relaxation", became an issue that prompted intervention by "so many narrow minded polemicists and politicians".
 
The group added that it had taken legal action against those who sent threats. 
 
French blast brands behind Islamic 'burqinis'
Model Mecca Laalaa wears an Islamic swimsuit by Muslim fashion designer Aheda Zanetti. Photo: AFP
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