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Court rules Muslim girl must take swim class
Photo: DPA

Court rules Muslim girl must take swim class

Published: 29 Sep 2012 09:11 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 Sep 2012 09:11 GMT+02:00

A German court on Friday refused to allow a Muslim student to skip swimming lessons after she said she was uncomfortable being so close to bare-chested boys.

The 12-year-old, originally from Morocco, is going to school in Frankfurt. She had refused to take part in swimming lessons and had been marked down.

She filed to be given the right to skip the classes, her lawyer arguing that according to the Koran, she was not only forbidden from showing herself to boys but also from seeing boys topless.

An administrative court in Kassel, near Frankfurt, rejected her application.

It said in its ruling that she could wear the full-body swimsuit, known as the "burkini" already used by several girls at her school, which would be enough to guarantee her religious freedom.

The court added that the family had chosen to live in Germany where mixed swimming classes were the norm.

One of the aims of the school system was to promote integration and tolerance, the court added, citing a ruling by Germany's constitutional court.

The applicant would have to put up with the sight of her classmates in their swimming costumes, the court said.

AFP/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:28 September 29, 2012 by GolfAlphaYankee
" her lawyer arguing that according to the Koran, she was not only forbidden from showing herself to boys but also from seeing boys topless."

this is BS ! there is no such thing in the Quran....... people will tray to get away with anything by claiming religion freedom .... I suspect the poor girl just can't swim and made up that ridiculous excuse ... her parent, instead of trying to find why she really want to skip the swim class they went along with her.

good for the court !
11:09 September 29, 2012 by Onlythetruth
My son should be excused from swimming class because he cannot control his urge to laugh uncontrollably at the sight of girls in his class dressed from head to toe in ridiculous bathing costumes.
11:20 September 29, 2012 by bwjijsdtd
Well, lets see ... a couple of things come to mind. (1) She can get a pair of swim goggles and paint the lensQuit black, that way she cannot see anything ... (2) Quit having unclean thoughts when see sees bearbreasted boys ... (3) Return to her own country ... (4) Read the Koran for herself to see if what she is being taught is the truth ...
13:15 September 29, 2012 by ATM
This is German please accept the customs and laws of the fine country. I did. If these people do not like then there are planes going back to where they came from That is the one thing about Germany you have Freedom of Choice to stay or go.
13:59 September 29, 2012 by auniquecorn
your right ATM, That is the one thing about Germany you have Freedom of Choice to stay or go.

But you don't have the freedom of choice to skip swim class...
14:33 September 29, 2012 by joysonabraham
ha ha ha..

this should serve as an eye opener to people who try to bringing religion into every sphere of life.

First thing to teach in schools

Religions are for us and we are not born for the religion.
16:43 September 29, 2012 by lordkorner
Burkini ha ha ha , its almost like an april fool article...
17:12 September 29, 2012 by bob searcy
i dont agree with this court ruling. what kind of free country would tell a person you have to wear this and you have to get in the water. i assure you i would not do something i didnt want to do. the young ladys individuality is being taken from her. she doesnt want to be like everyone else. the athourities should respect that..
17:18 September 29, 2012 by marimay
Religion aside, no one should be forced into a situation they are uncomfortable with. This is just a spiteful ruling.

Luckily we did not have such classes in my schools. I KNOW I would have felt the same way as her. I'm sure a lot of kids do.
17:25 September 29, 2012 by nemo999
to tell you the truth, I am rather uncomfortable being so close to bare-chested boys, on the other hand I do not seem to have an issue with bare-chested women, go figure.
18:58 September 29, 2012 by ovalle3.14
Unless this girl has some unmentioned issues, I think that the legal system of any country should not make it easy for you to be a quitter, but rather to face your fears and do something about them.

Oh, and, we're in Germany. The Koran is as legally binding here as, say, Asterix and the Vikings.
20:21 September 29, 2012 by Herr Rentz
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:32 September 29, 2012 by Jushe
Way to stand up for your culture Germany, good for you. Its your land your rules, they choose to move there.
22:40 September 29, 2012 by marimay
Why are you focusing on religion and culture? What does that have to do with forcing someone to do something they don't want to do? Do you honestly think she is the only one with this problem? Especially with all the image issues 12 yr old girls have these days?
04:04 September 30, 2012 by sonriete
The question to me is;

Why should anyone be forced to take swimming lessons in the first place?

I understand requiring children to take some sort of physical activities but why not have a menu?

After all, most other team sports are sex segregated for all children.
07:29 September 30, 2012 by kellyvanrijn
Well, if she doesn't want to swim next to bare chested boys, might I suggest moving back to whatever country she is from? Immigrants need to learn that it is their responsibility to assimilate into the country they are moving to, not the other way around.
09:05 September 30, 2012 by lordkorner
The reason that she must take swimming lessons is that in Germany it is part of the curriculum, its not something trivial like religion that you can just opt out of. You fall into deep water and you can't swim,you drown.
10:12 September 30, 2012 by StefanMuc
Seems reasonable. She is allowed to wear what she wants according to her religion, she is not allowed to tell other people what they should wear. And Germany is not required to accommodate every person's personal preferences in the curriculum.
20:07 September 30, 2012 by tercel
@ 17:12 September 29, 2012 by bob searcy

" she doesnt want to be like everyone else. the athourities should respect that.."

Yes, yes I totally agree. I don't like being poor like everyone else in my neighborhood, so the athourities should let me print my own money and respect that.

@ 17:18 September 29, 2012 by marimay

"no one should be forced into a situation they are uncomfortable with. This is just a spiteful ruling. "

How true, I am being forced into a situation I am uncomfortable with, being ¦quot;Sharia- compliant¦quot;, the EU authorities are just being spiteful.
20:44 September 30, 2012 by marimay
Oh, I see. Tercel is nuts.
21:21 September 30, 2012 by tercel
I see marimay has no idea what sarcasm is, so I'll give you the definition:

scar-casm

noun

the use of irony to mock or convey contempt
21:49 September 30, 2012 by Pakistani
u know am not a bit surprised that no one here regards the court's ruling as oppression. Would be nice to imagine what would the court and the civil society would have done if these girls happened to be jewish and if they had similar religious or cultural concerns. It would have been politically incorrect to give a pass out a decision like this.

You have to see that muslims are the new jews now a days. It is cool to push them down under. The "civilized world" sees it as a duty. Integration should be stressed upon BUT u have to see that east and west have totally opposite customs, cultural and religious values.... good and bad ones. Turks and arabs in germany should adopt the local customs but not at the cost of loosing their identity.... there are alot of germans living permanently in UAE and saudi arabia as professionals etc... du u ever see them wearing hijab and abstaining form alchohol?.... NO u wont see that.

The only reason why the west gets to impose it's values cos it is in the position to do so. if (God forbid) arabs controlled the world's economy, owned major media houses etc....... the conversation here would have been different.

lastly, I cant imagine what kind of delusions make people say things like "love it or leave it" ............. does it makes sense to bring foreigner unskilled labor into your country, have your way with them and afterwards when u dont need them tell them to 'k off. why weren't integration related concerns no an issue when germany was in need of man power........ why didn't you bring your beloved americans to work in your factories? what was so special with Achmet's illiterate family?
22:06 September 30, 2012 by jg.
For the record, when the Koran allows considerable leeway for Muslims when they are not in an Islamic country i.e. if they cannot find halal food or local law prevents them from dressing modestly, etc. Interestingly though, the Koran is very clear that Muslims should not settle in a Kaffir land.

So, if swimming lessons are mandatory, this young lady would not be in breach of her religion's rules - but she is in breach of them by choosing to live in Germany.
00:24 October 1, 2012 by marimay
Yes, I have no idea what sarcasm is.
02:11 October 1, 2012 by Wrinkled38
I completely agree with the ruling of the court - the family chose to settle in Germany, and whilst they should be free to practise their religion, they shouldn't be allowed to use it as an excuse to avoid doing something that their "holy book" doesn't even forbid until they're considered an adult.

This is not oppression - this is a family trying to use their religion to weasel their kid out of doing something, and being told clearly and decisively "forget it. You came here, you abide by our law - we don't abide by yours."
03:07 October 1, 2012 by Pakistani
"abide by the law"?????.............what if the law says that every western woman should wear burka?? like in Iran (where they are actually crazy)...........would you actually condone that kind of decision?.............. like I said ...living in a delusion
03:18 October 1, 2012 by marimay
You cant expect simple minds to see the big picture. A lot of people here would rather focus on the stories that make them feel good about hating other people while ignoring the issues that are harder to deal with, like their country falling apart thanks to their government's love affair with banks and taxes and china. Distract these simple minds and they can get away with anything. It is working in the US as well. Sad. Just wait til these courts start forcing you to do things you don't want to do as well. :) Oh wait, they already have.
04:05 October 1, 2012 by Wrinkled38
marimay - they already did that, and I took the only route out I could. I only moved to Germany a month ago, and despite being Catholic, I refuse to pay the church tax. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for the right to go to church. So I wrote a letter to my priest, and I've renounced my membership of the church.

and Pakistani - if the law says, whatever the law says, I will condone it. That's what the law is there for. To be followed.
07:47 October 1, 2012 by Herr Ed
@ Pakistani- There's an old Linda Rondstadt song titled Poor Pitiful Me". You might want to check it out since it sounds like it might be a good theme song for you.

As far as the girl wanting to skip swim class...I've seen just almost as much skin walking down the streets on a hot day as she would see in swim class. I suppose she'll have to stay inside and have no contact with the outside world. Wait, that's the whole point, eh?
08:49 October 1, 2012 by tj_piela
I am very glad with the court's decision, there are plenty of countries in the world, where no one would ask this girl to have swimming lessons, they decided to come to Germany, so automatically they need to understand, that in the country there are certain rules, like in any country in the world. The same story is with non Muslims, who come to Islamic countries, they have to stick to the rules, otherwise they can be punished. Why Europe should be the good auntie and let everyone to do whatever they want...?
08:56 October 1, 2012 by sqwimpy
@marimay - The simpleton sounds like you. The point of immigration is integration, not segregation. I am surprised she was able to wear the barkini. The only people I see belly aching about their rights as immigrants is people of that faith.

Why can't you go back to your country? Oh ya, they didn't want them either.

@ Pakistani - I have to concur with Herr Ed. They need to get their kid to a muslim school so their rights are followed. We should not be conforming to your religion, you need to follow the law or find a country more conforming to your needs, like Sweden.
09:09 October 1, 2012 by renton66
wahhh. she's being oppressed in germany because she has to follow the rules.

meanwhile, back in saudi arabia...

'Ikea 'erases' women from Saudi catalogue'

http://www.thelocal.se/43540/20121001/
20:35 October 1, 2012 by sonriete
To me this is a crazy debate, people are saying the girl is trying to "weasel out" of taking an exercise class in school, huh? ... Obviously she is motivated in this case by deep convictions. She doesn't want to be exposed to boys naked chests. Can't we find a way to accommodate her modesty? Are we that small? For that matter, is Christianity, the dominant religion in Germany indigenous to this country? Or is it imported from the middle east, just like Islam? Just asking.....
02:35 October 2, 2012 by Pakistani
@sonriete : the world needs people like you ..........

@Wrinkled38 : not the answer for the question that I asked.... would women in your family adopt hijab if they were working within the UAE eg.... NO! cos u think your values are superior......

@Herr Ed : keep syaing that. you do know that your children would reap the fruit of your attitude towards muslims in germany..... muslims are here to stay........... being a smart ass, dont you think it is better to some to a mutual compromise........ (I know what you would say next.... plz dont)

@sqwimpy

..... I would oppose a "muslim" school in germany (in the sense that you implied it to be)....... you cannot have a "muslim" school here in germany...... mosques in germany are not allowed to even make the call for prayer.......... BUT in Pakistan (what u regard as u know what kind of coutnry) you DO hear church bells every where.......... unbeleiveable????????? must be........ u are suckerz to you your media........... live in your delusion.......... good bye peace.... lets call ourselves "arians", arabs and persians...........

do you think yours,mine and any other random immigrant 's children would co-exist peacefully............ or would be like arabs and jews ................. we should make a difference
05:20 October 2, 2012 by lewis69
Islam is an out dated religion full of odd customs, violent customs and customs that opress women I think we should limit out intake of these wacked out people into our countries.
23:54 October 2, 2012 by Pakistani
@ lewis69: islam is and christianity is not right?.................... I know an american/christian immigrant family here in frankfurt ............... the woman has 14 children......... unbelievable right? since people normally accuse muslims for that kind of fertility (:) ) and the will to actually use it.................... whatever gets said in this and similar forums is just CRAP!................. unless the balance of power shifts from the west to the east..... those "jihadi" lunatics have realized that and that is what they are striving to achieve ......................... I mean just for the sake of your own "kind"............. imagine

lastly. "your" countries will keep importing immigrants till they get self sufficient in "man"-power....................... row some marbles to admit that would you?
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