Muslim leaders applaud Council of State ruling

Following the Council of State’s suspension of the anti-burkini orders in Villeneuve-Loubet, the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) welcomed the ruling, calling it a “sensible decision,” and a “victory of rights, [and] wisdom.”

According to the CFCM’s Secretary General Abdallah Zekri, “This sensible decision will help defuse the situation, which was marked by high tensions among our Muslim compatriots, notably women.” He added that it was “a victory of rights, of wisdom, of promoting our country’s vivre ensemble”

The Grand Mosque of Lyon called on Muslims to be “proud of France.”

“This court decision serves as a symbolic model,” said the mosque’s rector Kamel Kabtane. “To those who argue, not without violence, that Islam has no place in France, in Europe, in the West…The Council of State has opposed them. Islam has its place in the Republic and the legal realm regarding a Muslim’s freedom of conscience, whether it be in the mosque or swimming in the ocean.”


Court decision on school swimming for Muslim pupils

Sep 11th


The Federal Administrative Court of the city of Leipzig has rejected the complaint of a Moroccan family from Frankfurt, complaining against obligatory swimming education for their thirteen years old daughter. According to the court, religion is not a sufficient reason to avoid public swimming. A whole-body swimsuit (Burkini) is reasoned to be sufficient covering the entire body, enabling Muslim girls to participate at school swimming.


The Minister of the German State Hesse interpreted the court rule as a pathbreaking decision for the integration of migrants. The court in Leipzig reasoned its decision with the aim to ensure the application of law to all subjects. No minority group should be excluded from German society.


Sentence of Administrative Court – Muslim girl cannot be dismissed from swimming lessons

September 28


The Administrative Court of the Federal State of Hessen has rejected a lawsuit by a Muslim family, who did not send their twelve-year-old daughter to the school swimming lessons. The family’s action has been rejected also by the Administrative Court of the city of Kassel. The girl has argued that swimming with boys would be forbidden by her religion. She would like to participate at swimming class, but only in case the class would be attended by properly covered girls, and no boys.

The court had to find a balance between different rights. Although the freedom of religion would be protected as it would be her right to avoid seeing or touching boys, this freedom would restrict the constitutional goal to ensure equal education.

As a result, the Court decided for rejection, while recommending the girl to wear an Islamic swimming dress, the Burkini.


The position of tribunals in this matter is not uniform. Recently, the Administrative court of the City State of Bremen had permitted girls to be released from sport classes with the beginning of adolescence.


So far, there have been no reactions by Islamic organizations such as the Islamic Religion Community of the States of Hesse or the Turkish-Islamic Union of the State of Hessen.

A place for Muslim women in Winnipeg

Winnipeg Free Press – September 29, 2012


Hamood learned to swim — and love the water — through a female-only swimming program organized by the Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute at the Winnipeg city-owned Sherbrook Pool. The institute’s mandate includes providing programs and services for Muslim women such as Hamood in order to adapt to their new lives in Canada, explains institute president Yasmin Ali.

After six years in borrowed spaces, Ali hopes the institute’s new and spacious home in a former garment factory, Gemini Fashions on Juno Street, will allow the organization to expand its programming and continue to fund existing ones, such as the 10-week swimming program. The new location adjoins Peerless Garments, where the institute runs an employment-training program and sewing workshop for Muslim women.

Discourses on Islam emerge in Hollande/Sarkozy presidential debate

May 3, 2012

In the presidential debate on May 3rd (prior to the final election of May 6, 2012) Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy appeared to take similar positions when it came to special treatment for France’s large Muslim community.

Hollande said he would not allow separate menus in public cafeterias or separate hours in swimming pools for men and women to satisfy Muslims’ demands, and also said he would firmly support France’s ban on the face-covering Islamic veils.

Sarkozy said there must be an Islam “of” France and not an Islam “in” France. He also vaunted his ban on the niqab in France.

Dutch Liberals Call to Stop Funding “Anti-Integration Activities”

15 November 2011

The ruling Liberal Party (VVD) of the Netherlands has requested that its home affairs minister stop granting funds to initiatives which ‘get in the way of integration’, such as organizations which offer separate swimming lessons for women. Single-sex activities, organizations which “oppose homosexual rights” or whose “activities conflict with democracy” should no longer receive support, according to VVD MP Cora van Nieuwenhuizen. According to van Nieuwenhuizen, for instance, a refugee center with a separate computer room for women should not be funded as it sends out “conflicting messages about Dutch society.”

Two Muslim Women Asked to Leave Pool in Southern France; Discrimination On the Rise

Two Muslim women were ordered out of a swimming pool at the Rives des Corbieres holiday camp in Port Leucate, southern France, because they were wearing ‘burkinis’. The incident came ten days after French MPs voted to outlaw the burka in public places.

The women were asked to either change into conventional bikinis or one-piece costumes or leave the swimming pool. Police were then called to the drama after the husband of one of the women threatened the pool’s lifeguard with a bowling ball.

Last year a Muslim woman was banned from wearing a burkini at a public swimming pool also for hygiene reasons. She later failed in her bid to sue the council in the Paris suburb for discrimination. Police have this year also stopped and fined two women for wearing a burka while driving because the garb impaired their field of vision. The Lost Angeles Times reports a rise in discrimination of Muslims across France.

Request for women-only swimming hour in Amsterdam

A group of women in Amsterdam are seeking a women-only swimming session at an Amsterdam pool, Telegraaf reports. The women wear burkinis to swim but do not want their hands and feet to be visible should men be present. Local councillor Egbert de Vries argued that the pool already has a one-hour naked swimming session for men and should perhaps consider having a women-swimming session as well.

Hague cancels separate swimming times

The Islam Democrats (ID) party, which has held a seat on the Hague municipal council since 2006, has denounced the municipality’s decision to cancel gender segregated swimming used mostly by Muslim women. City officials made the decision on the basis that men and women should meet while exercising, while supporters of the separate swimming have denounced the decision as “symbol-politics”.

Fethullah got his hands on Germany

“Alliance for Peace and Fairness” launched as “the first Muslim party” in Germany is said to have ties with AKP and Gülen community. Yesterday, Zaman newspaper published a news article titled “Muslims founded a Party in Germany” to herald the emergence of a new political party named “Alliance for Peace and Fairness” which will be on the ballot for the upcoming elections in North Rhein Westphalia, Germany. Fethullah Gülen community and AKP’s organizations in Germany are said to stand behind the Party. Starting out three years ago with the formation named “Muslim Council” in Bonn to embrace the other Muslim groups together with Turks, “Muslim Party” as Zaman calls it, was consequently restructured as a Party and is now headed by Chairman Haluk Yıldız.

Haluk Yıldız spoke about the formation as follows: “First of all, we brought the Muslims together. We had talks with the Municipality for a Muslim cemetery. We will obtain the result soon. There are plans for two mosques. Permission for one of them has already been received. Talks continue for the other one. We are involved in the problems at the schools. We have handled headscarf issue and participation of Muslim students in school trips and swimming lessons. We have formed a team of 6 for this purpose. We have appointed two lawyers. Since we are an institution, the municipality and the school administration takes us into consideration. This way it became easier to solve the problems.”

According to what Yıldız said, there was a discussion within Muslim Arabs in the city “as to whether voting in the elections is permissible according to Islam or not”, but, the formation which is believed to have relationship with Gülen Community interfered in the discussion. Yıldız says this: We have convinced Imams. They gave a fatwa and Arab countries also supported the idea of a Party.”

An independent formation? New formation, of course, doesn’t say that it has an organic relationship with any one of the groups in Turkey. But, Gülen community and AKP support to the group is plainly discussed in Germany. For instance, German journalist Gudrun Eussner is of the opinion that “The word justice in the name of the Party refers to AKP. In addition to this, expressions like, “No to assimilation and discrimination’ show a parallelism with the speech Prime Minister Erdoğan had made in Cologne last year.” The news published two days ago with the signature of Ulrike Hummel in Deutsche Welle says that “Alliance for Peace and Fairness” has 50 members at the moment. Considering their forming a special team of six and appointing two lawyers to follow up a very specific issue like participation of Muslim students in school trips and swimming lessons, according to what Chairman Haluk Yıldız said in the interview he gave to Zaman, it ‘s not quiet convincing to say such an organized group has 50 members only.