Switzerland: Canton guidelines allow burkini in school

Switzerland: Canton guidelines allow burkini in school

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Devout Muslim women can't swim in tight swimsuits. The Aargau canton already responded: Now female students can go to the pool in a burkini.

"The Burkini is allowed in swimming lessons," Aargau SVP (Swiss People's Party) Director of Education Alex Hürzeler told Sonntag. The guidelines of Hürzeler's department state: Male and female students should be given the option of covering their bodies. With the swimming pool Burka, Hürzeler wants to avoid special dispensations for sports classes.

The Thurgau SVP Director of Education Monika Knill also said yes to the burkini: If parents wish, girls should have the option of wearing a burkini in swimming lessons. The department guidelines say: The school should allow Muslim children the option of wearing a body suit.

This 'Burkini submission' irritates the national SVP party leadership. "No special provisions," urges fraction president Caspar Baader. The neopren burka with integrated head covering has no place in Swiss schools. "We're not in Turkey here and not in Iran. Whoever lives with us has to integrate, that is: participating in swimming lessons completely normally."

The SVP Women's organization of Aargau Canton respond with consternation: I wonder if these girls can choose for themselves whether to wear a burkini in swim class," says president Milly Stöckli, the Islamic dress code does not contribute at all to integration. Stöckli: All special requests are therefore not acceptable."

The national CVP Women's org (Christian Democrats) is also critical. "It's problematic when a nine year old girl already has to cover herself," says president Babette Sigg: "Muslim girls are second class people in Islam. That is not compatible with our constitution."

However, more cantons permit the burkini. As one of the first cantons, Basel-Stadt set up appropriate guidelines. Basel-Landschaft, Zürich, Lucerne, and Solothurn have since followed. Meanwhile the Burkini is quietly allowed in many Swiss schools.

And one thing is already clear: the Burka swimming-suit is not the only Islam-special provision. Because nudity is frowned upon (others' and oneself's), the guidelines of Thurgau SVP Director of Education Knill require that Muslim children should be able to change clothes and shower alone.

Hürzeler's Aargau Department of Education is specific: schools should offer 'separate showers with a curtain or door', it says in the 17-page guidelines. Or it should be possible that the students could shower at different times. And Aargau goes further: During Ramadan physical education education should be pared down, without particularity strenuous physical activity - out of consideration for students who are fasting.

Source: Sonntag (German)

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