A 21 year-old woman who works at the YMCA in Montreal has been permitted to wear a “burquini” as a lifeguard at a local sports complex. The young woman had filed a complaint with the Human Rights Board when the centre refused to allow her to wear a hijab when working at the pool. Previously the pool complex had installed tinted glass windows to accommodate women’s requests for privacy. The centre’s administration decided that the burkini, a headscarf made of polyester materials that cover the hair completely, would be the best alternative.
The UK’s first-ever insurer to comply with Islamic law has been launched today to enable Muslim motorists to secure cover for their vehicle. Salaam Halal insurance is targeting the 1.6 million British Muslims with its products, which differ from other cover in that the risk is spread between all policyholders registered with the company. Standard non-Sharia-compliant companies move the risk from the driver to the insurer. The policy works through the investors paying money into a pool, which is then invested in companies which do not contravene Islamic tenets, with money that is surplus at the end of the financial year is then distributed among policyholders. Abdulaziz Hamad Aljomaih, the chairman of Salaam insurance, told the AFP news agency: “The launch of Salaam insurance – the first independent, fully sharia-compliant Takaful operator available in this country – is a significant step for the growth of Islamic finance in the UK.”
A 26-year old woman was kicked out of a pool in the city of Zwolle for wearing a burkini. The woman was only in the water for a few minutes and had been playing with her son, before pool employees told her that there were complaints about her clothing. The manager of the pool defended the move, saying that they take into account all customer objections, including having special hours for obese pool-users. The burkini is an adapted form of swimwear that takes into account the emphasis of modesty in Islam, and minimizes skin exposure and tightness of bathing clothing.
Two Muslim mothers won a court appeal against a municipal swimming pool in Gothenburg that required them to take off their veils and body-covering clothing. The Court of Appeal for western Sweden found the city of Gothenburg guilty of ethnic discrimination, and ordered authorities to pay each of the women 20,000 kronor (or $3,000) in damages. Both of the women were wearing head-coverings, long pants and long-sleeved shirts covering their body.
Two female students are demanding their rights after they were banned from bathing topless at a swimming pool in Uppsala. If girls are forced to wear bikinis, boys should be too, one of the women told The Local. Ragnhild Karlsson, 22, and her friend Kristin Karlsson, 21, live on the same corridor in a student residence in the university town. On September 5th they took a trip to the Fyrishov leisure complex, where they decided to hop in for a swim without their bikini tops. Though the pool was full of swimmers, a female lifeguard eventually caught sight of the bare-breasted women and reached for her whistle…. …”We have a lot of visitors here, ranging from families with children to the elderly. We also have people from different ethnic backgrounds. We want all of them to be able to enjoy themselves when they come here. “This issue is new to us and we welcome the debate. It is important that everybody gets to voice their opinion, from families with children to naturists, older people and Muslim women. We have asked our governing body to look into this and hope they will come back to us with recommendations,” said Grotteblad.
Canada is more tolerant of immigrants than Europe and less afraid of terrorist attacks than the United States, meaning it could be a model for faithful Muslims trying to integrate into Western society, a controversial Islamic scholar says. Tariq Ramadan has two reservations: Canada must stop thinking of itself as peripheral to the debate and it must not knuckle under to U.S. policies. Ramadan spoke to CanWest News Service from his office in London, England, just before leaving for Ottawa, where he will speak to the Islamic Society of North America conference this weekend. About 3,000 Muslims from across Canada and around the world are expected at the event. Ramadan will be speaking with Ingrid Mattson, the first female and first Canadian to become president of the society. The worst thing the Muslim community can do, he says, is isolate itself from the society around it, making itself a ghetto. “We are living in a state of fear, on both sides. You need to promote what I call a revolution of trust.” Public policy gets warped by this mistrust until “it’s all about control and security. It’s wrong. (Muslims) are citizens, they have the same rights.” He said the community needs to pool its leaders in all faiths and walks of life, so co-operation is already established before a crisis erupts.
Fallaci, who lives in New York, was not expected to attend the hearing in Bergamo, northern Italy. Muslim activist Adel Smith filed a lawsuit against Fallaci, charging that some passages in her book, “The Strength of Reason,” were offensive to Islam. Smith’s lawyer cited a phrase from the book that refers to Islam as “a pool … that never purifies.” Last year, a judge ordered that she stand trial on charges of violating an Italian law that prohibits “outrage to religion.” He cited a passage that reads: “To be under the illusion that there is a good Islam and a bad Islam or not to understand that Islam is only one … is against reason.” Fallaci told The Associated Press last year that “I have expressed my opinion through the written word through my books, that is all.” A former resistance fighter and war correspondent, Fallaci has often stirred controversy for her blunt publications and provocative stances. Her most recent books have drawn accusations she incites hatred against Muslims, the AP reports. In her best-selling essay “The Rage and the Pride,” written as a response to the Sept. 11 attacks, Fallaci wrote that Muslims “multiply like rats” and said “the children of Allah spend their time with their bottoms in the air, praying five times a day.” A group in France unsuccessfully sought to stop distribution of the book. In The Strength of Reason, Fallaci accuses Europe of having sold its soul to what she describes as an Islamic invasion. Smith is also known for taking radical positions. He gained attention in Italy in 2003 when he sought unsuccessfully to have the crucifix removed from the public elementary school his sons attended. As head of the small Muslim Union of Italy, he has launched numerous legal battles, causing several Islamic organizations to distance themselves.