Muslim family wearing burkinis told they couldn't swim at Manitoba water park: 'Very uncomfortable'

burkini Colorful waterpark tubes and pool in tropical aquapark. Egypt, Sharm al-Sheikh.
A Winnipeg family is on a mission to raise awareness about burkinis after an incident at a Manitoba water park. (Photo via Getty Images)

Halima Jelloul is on a mission to raise awareness after an incident at a Manitoba water park.

Over the weekend, Jelloul, her husband, and their two daughters entered the Lilac Resort in Winnipeg, Manitoba for a fun-filled family trip.

Located 20 minutes outside Winnipeg, the resort offers RV camping, tent camping, cabin rentals and a water park.

Upon arrival, Jelloul and her family said they were told they couldn't enter the pool due to their attire.

"About 10-15 minutes, the owner approached us and said that due to the burkini me and my daughter were wearing we aren't allowed on the waterslide," said Jelloul in an interview with CTV News Winnipeg.

"I was very uncomfortable, obviously. I wasn't shocked it happened," added Jelloul's 14-year-old daughter Salma Douida.

Similar to a wetsuit, a burkini is a swimsuit that is designed for women to respect the Islamic traditions of modest dress.

The suit covers the entire body except for the face, hands and feet, while being lightweight and flexible enough to freely move your body while swimming.

A young Muslim woman wearing a burkini  walks on Clacton beach, UK. Clacton pier in the the background.
A burkini is a swimsuit that is designed for women to respect the Islamic traditions of modest dress. (Photo via Getty Images)

Dan Manaigre, the resort's owner, told CTV that he approached the family because he thought the burkinis were streetwear — which is a public health violation if worn in the pool.

"I want to apologize to the family because I just didn't know," said Manaigre, who has sent a memo to his staff explaining what a burkini is and that they are actually allowed.

"Moving forward, they've all been told that burkini will be acceptable wear. However, they will continue enforcing no streetwear in the pool," he added.

After speaking with a health inspector, Jelloul and her family were told they were free to swim, but they chose to leave instead.

"My daughters were crying. It wasn't really a pleasing moment for us, so I had to check in with my daughters to see if they were OK and wanted to stay or leave," Jelloul explained to CTV.

"And I think that Muslim women or anyone who dresses modestly should have the right to and that if this happens to them, they should speak up," added Douida.

young woman in burkini swimming in the sea, persian gulf, jumeirah beach in dubai
According to Lifesaving Society Manitoba, there's no reason why burkini's should be banned. (Photo via Getty Images)

According to Christopher Love, the Safety Management Coordinator at Lifesaving Society Manitoba, there's no reason why burkinis should be banned.

"As long as the burkini in question is properly constructed, there are no safety concerns," Love told CTV in an email. "I have seen some in use, and they really do function like wet suits and provide for modesty while also allowing a full range of motion in the water."

Moving forward, the family is looking to spread awareness of what burkinis are.

"On a daily basis we experience that at the beach. People looking at you not knowing what it is, which is okay, and some education needs to happen," said Jelloul.

The family hopes that knowledge and awareness will prevent this incident from happening to other families or individuals in the future.

Yahoo Canada has reached out to both the family and the resort for comment.

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