A European court has ruled that Muslim girls must take part in mixed school swimming classes after rejecting a case by a Turkish-Swiss couple who had requested that their daughters be exempted from such activities.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday accepted that the refusal by Swiss authorities to excuse children from the compulsory swimming lessons interfered with their religious beliefs, but ruled that it was justifiable on the basis of protecting children from social exclusion.
The school has “a special role in the process of social integration, particularly where children of foreign origin were concerned,” said the ECHR.
It added that swimming lessons are “not just to learn to swim, but above all to take part in that activity with all the other pupils.”
The ECHR further noted that “very flexible arrangements” had been made accessible to the family, such as permitting the girls to wear burkinis during lessons.
It also stipulated that a $1,380 fine levied on the parents for noncompliance to former warnings was appropriate “in order to ensure that the parents do send their children to compulsory lessons, which is above all in their own interest, for socialization and successful integration.”
In May, Switzerland ruled that if Muslim students refuse to shake their teachers’ hand at the beginning and end of lessons, their parents will face fines of up to $5,000.
Islamophobic agenda at play in ECHR swimming rule: Activist
An activist and Islamic scholar believes that there is an “Islamophobic agenda” at play in this European court ruling which is designed to make Muslims break all the underlined principles of Islam.
“This is not the first time that a court in Switzerland has done something as ludicrous as this, turning around and saying somehow social cohesion is more important than a person’s right to follow their own belief or their religion,” Shabbir Hassanally told Press TV in an interview on Wednesday.
“There is a very easy solution that does not require this Islamophobic taste to it,” he said, suggesting that separate swimming classes be offered for girls and boys. “But that would be far too intelligent and far too socially cohesive for these bureaucrats in Switzerland to understand.”
“The Islamophobic agenda is designed not to make Muslims leave Islam. [Rather], they want Muslims to make their Islam conform in the same way that Christianity has been made to conform where all the underlying principles of that divine system have been broken and damaged,” he analysed.
“If we go back to Scripture, there are all sorts of things that are completely prohibited but they are all prevalent in the society in the name of human rights,” Hassanally said.
He described Islamophobia as a “Zionist-backed project” and a “Zionist-cultivated industry” – worth millions every year – which has been expanding since the 9/11 attacks in an attempt to push Muslims into a corner.
He went on to say after the Cold War, the neocons needed an enemy and Muslims were the best enemy they could think of.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the activist said it is nice that the school has allowed the girls to wear burkinis during lessons, but noted that the families do not want their daughters to be in a swimming scenario with boys because that is not acceptable based on Islamic teachings.
He also noted that such decisions do not even conform to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and they only compound the problem.