Resort-Owner Planning Beach for Muslim Women

August 4, 2006

Source: Beliefnet

Wire Service: AP

On August 4, 2006 the Associated Press reported, "Hotels at an Italian seaside resort are eager to act on the town's decision to authorize the creation of all-female beach sections for Muslim women, with at least one hotel owner saying Friday that plans are already under way to open the first of such secluded areas next month. The city council of Riccione, a popular resort on Italy's Adriatic coast about 90 miles east of Florence, has said it is prepared to authorize requests to set up partitions on parts of the shoreline to satisfy requests from the town's growing numbers of Arab and Muslim tourists. 'They can have anything they want, but they can't go to the beach, at least not without all those heavy clothes,' Attilio Cenni, owner of the upscale Grand Hotel des Bains, said of his female Muslim guests. Cenni said he plans to open the first secluded section starting in September on a stretch of shoreline of about 1,000 square meters (10,000 square feet) and to expand further next season across the more isolated beaches on Riccione's outskirts. He also plans a TV advertising campaigns in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Cenni told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. Popular with German and French tourists, Riccione's mass-tourism venues have recently started to attract thousands of Arab and Muslim visitors each year, mostly from the conservative Arabian peninsula, city officials say. Supporters of the idea say that the separate beaches would allow observant Muslim women to shed their headscarves and long robes and enjoy the sun in privacy; religious restrictions otherwise oblige them to cover up if men are present."