Brit Swimming Pools Demand 'Burkinis' for Muslim Women

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Aug 16, 2009 11:18 AM CDT
Mecca Laa Laa patrols a beach in a "burkini" in sydney, Australia.    (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – British pools are calling for top-to-toe "burkinis" for Muslim female swimmers, reports the Telegraph. The stance is in marked contrast to the policy at a pool in France, which last week banned the burkini, saying the garment was not "hygienic." A number of public pools in Britain hold special sessions for Muslims, and are requiring the Islamic "dress codes," which also call for men to be covered from navel to knees.

The position has infuriated some politicians and other critics. "This kind of thing is extremely divisive," said a member of an organization promoting "social cohesion." "Non-Muslims see these extremist demands as an example of Muslims wanting things to fit into their lifestyle, when there aren't similar things organized for Hindus, Buddhists, or Jews. It also puts moderate Muslims in an awkward position as it suggests, wrongly, that they are not devout enough, simply because they choose not to cover themselves in a shroud in a pool."