• Sweden's news in English

Burkinis to help Muslim Swedes take the plunge

6 Mar 2013, 09:45

Published: 06 Mar 2013 09:45 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The municipal leisure committee had received a citizens petition asking if the swimming pool could have a separate time slot for women, in order to facilitate for residents who chose for religious reasons to not show their bodies to members of the opposite sex.

The local politicians, however, decided to decline the petition, reports regional newspaper Östran.

Instead, they want to buy in burkinis - swimsuits that cover all parts of a woman's body - which their observant Muslim swimmers could buy before taking the plunge.

"Women can then go swimming but still be covered," the committee's minutes read.

The municipality's executive committee will now look at the proposal, reported Östran.

Different attitudes to nudity – from the ultra-conservative to the extremely liberal –have posed problems for swimming pool managers in Sweden before.

READ ALSO: 'Swedish bathers in naked shower outcry'

In 2011, bathers in Skärholmen, southern Stockholm, said certain bathers' reluctance to show themselves naked meant they did not shower before entering the pool, in breach of hygiene regulations at most Swedish pools.

Story continues below…

At the other end of the scale, a feminist network called 'Bara Bröst' has campaigned for women to be allowed to swim topless in Sweden's public pools. They argue that the requirement for women - but not men - to cover their chests is sexist.

TT/The Local/at

Follow The Local on Twitter

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:23 March 6, 2013 by TG22
"At the other end of the scale, a feminist network called 'Bara Bröst' has campaigned for women to be allowed to swim topless in Sweden's public pools."

That's my kind of equality... way to go sis...
13:11 March 6, 2013 by silversurfer
This is a public pool. NOT a private pool for some hours. In muslim lands, visiting women often wear a head cover. muslims in Sweden can adjust or stay home!
13:36 March 6, 2013 by TG22
The problem is that if we don't let they get their way in no time they will burn the place to the ground, and those who dare the say anything about it will be called all sort of names,as usual...
14:37 March 6, 2013 by engagebrain
Perhaps some form of head or eye covering for Muslim men to prevent them seeing normally dressed women.
15:20 March 6, 2013 by Svensksmith
A fair solution to the problem.
15:23 March 6, 2013 by k2kats
Please forgive me if I'm losing something in translation, but isn't the definition of a public pool, a pool that is available to everyone? And yet, this town decides to turn down a request for equal time from a segment of the public? Instead, the town wants to turn a profit on an alternative that the majority culture (with little knowledge of the group's religion) has decided should resolve the applicants concerns -- as if somehow the applicants never considered it?

I sure hope there's more to this story.
15:51 March 6, 2013 by engagebrain

A public pool available to the public at all times - no segregation.

Segregation is a dangerous path - men, women, muslim men, muslim women, druids, gays, gay men, gay women...... I guess many groups would like to have exclusive times.

Are you saying that the burkinis solution is not acceptable to some muslim women ?
17:47 March 6, 2013 by Programmeny
Even the burkini is a bad idea. I don't want to swim in a pool where others are apparently washing their clothes. It doesn't matter how it's called, it's still clothes.

If we're obliged to obey their rules and traditions while in muslims countries, if anyone ever goes there anyway, then they should adapt to the Swedish society.

Sweden is one of the most liberal, forward thinking and innovative country in the world. We are where we are because of our way of thinking. There's nothing wrong with nudity and sex - we are all made out of nudity and sex. We should rejoice and embrace it, not obey to some medieval religious rules. If they want their women not to be seen by anyone, then they should lock them inside or move back to their country of origin.
18:10 March 6, 2013 by flyintiger
Between the Liberals, Feminists and the Muslims, Sweden you really have it made, you really have a very bright and beautifoooool future. The irony here is that the Liberals and the Feminists are the loudest in support for these muslims, because Liberalism and Islamism are go hand in hand right? These muslims they just love liberalism ideology right? Righhhhhhhht....
20:45 March 6, 2013 by AquamanUK
Everyone has to swim NAKED. End of issue!
01:13 March 7, 2013 by k2kats
engagebrain: Thanks for asking!

I absolutely agree that a public pool should be available to everyone, but know of no obligation that it be available to all people at all times.

Excluding a group because of their religious beliefs sounds like discrimination.

My understanding of this faith is that modesty (which is not limited to revealing skin) is critical. My guess is that wearing clothing which, when wet, would be clingy may not meet this groups needs.

Equality does not mean "sameness;" that's easy. True equals respectfully appreciate and accommodate differences.

Again, I hope there's more to this story.
02:33 March 7, 2013 by Norum
there is no such thing as Muslim Swedes. If you are Muslim, you are from outside of Sweden. Swedes are not muslims.
02:47 March 7, 2013 by engagebrain

wrote ' My guess is....'

so basically you are inventing a scenario for which there is no evidence - or just causing trouble.

As far as we know no muslims have objected to the burkini and no muslims have been prevented from using a public swimming pool by law - opting not to use a public facility is hardly discrimination.

Is it discriminatory not have 'eye' days in shopping centres when women can only expose their eyes and hands ?

How would you police a muslim only swimming session, a religious test by an onsite imman (Shia or Sunni), measurement of exposed area as a fraction of total body surface. Which parts of women's bodies are particularly likely to cause offence.

The burkini is decent attempt to accommodate a few muslims, a solution which you try to make into a problem.
04:26 March 7, 2013 by k2kats
engagebrain: As someone who has not discussed the issue with each of the parties involved, I am obviously not qualified to comment definitively. Based on my experience with some people in the Muslim community, burkinis do not meet their needs.

Perhaps my conversations have been with folks who express their faith in more conservative ways? But since people in this town requested special time to use the pool, one might reasonably conclude that they had also rejected burkinis.

What struck me in the article is the town's decision making process and it's possible consequences. (Please note my original post, wondering if I was understanding the facts correctly.)

When use of a public pool demands compromising one's faith, avoidance is not necessarily optional. That's rather like the shopkeeper who protests that a wheelchair ramp is unnecessary because people with disabilities don't enter his shop.

People often complain that an accommodation might set a precedent or be difficult to enforce. In my humble opinion, any community that genuinely can't figure out how to provide equal access in an amiable, cooperative way has much bigger problems.

Once again... I'm guessing (hoping!) that there's much more to this story, that reason prevails, and the parties involved work equitably to find a mutually satisfactory solution.
16:25 March 7, 2013 by flyintiger
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
13:08 March 8, 2013 by forsdavg
The intolerance lies not with the pool authority, who are at least offering a solution, but with the section of the community wanting to make changes to a well tested culture.

After the 'dedicated hours for muslim women' then the cafeteria will be asked to withdraw the sale of ham sandwiches and the restaurant close to the pool must stop selling wine.

The insiduous requests then turn to demands all hidden behind the veil (excuse the pun) of religious intolerance.

The whole of Europe is retreating to this onslaught.

A line should be drawn in the sand and it must be soon ...
15:56 March 8, 2013 by Coolrunnings
Solution: Get your own private pool.

Then you don't have to worry about old swedish perverts staring at your kids or shuttlecocks who swim in their underwear.
23:24 March 8, 2013 by Authentica
Those women should then avoid public pools and swim in their own bathtubs.
Today's headlines
Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available