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Burkini bans causing waves in Egypt

Tourist-hungry Egypt finds itself stuck in the middle of the burkini debate.

Banning the burkini, a full-body swimming outfit, on public beaches has been a controversial issue in many countries. But in Muslim-majority countries where many women are veiled, the debate can reach a boiling point. The burkini battle stretched into Egypt last year, spawning a public outcry and putting the country’s Tourism Ministry under fire.

After receiving complaints from burkini-wearing women who were not allowed into some resort pools, Egypt's Tourism Ministry recently canceled — briefly — the burkini ban, urging hotels with multiple swimming pools to at least allocate one of them to hijabi women. The Egyptian Hotel Association, which is affiliated with the ministry, distributed the ministry's Aug. 3 decision: The burkini should not be banned as long as it is made of typical swimsuit materials and meets hygiene regulations. The association said the decision is designed to eliminate any claims that burkinis are banned for any religious-related reason or that hotels enforce discriminatory policies.

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