Albania: Bikinis and hijabs contrast on 'burqa beach'

Albania: Bikinis and hijabs contrast on 'burqa beach'

Via AFP:
September has seen devout Muslims again flocking to Albania's only "burqa beach" after the Ramadan holy month, where women bathe in full hijab -- a short distance from the "other" Albania where girls romp in scanty bikinis.

The contrast is not to everyone's liking but is a testament to Albania's centuries-old tradition of religious tolerance, which even survived nearly half a century of a communist rule that tried to stamp out all religion.

About two-thirds of this Mediterranean state's 3.2 million residents are Muslim. Much of the rest is Christian -- both Orthodox and Catholic -- and co-habitation among the different faiths is the norm in EU-hopeful Albania.

"To each their own," said Selim, a Muslim who gave only his first name.

But "why do some people think that showing off their buttocks is a sign of civilization and freedom, while protecting one's body from other people's glances is an expression of underdevelopment?" he asked.