The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg has in a groundbreaking ruling decided that Muslim girls in Switzerland must not receive exemptions from swimming lessons where both boys and girls are participating.
Gender segregated swimming lessons is not a human right, stated the European Court of Human Rights and threw out the appeal from a Muslim couple who had appealed a ruling from the Swiss court because they did not want their daughters to be in the pool at the same time as boys.
But the court had more to say. It added that schools had a special role in integrating children, especially those with foreign backgrounds:
"The children's interest in a full education, thus facilitating their successful social integration according to local customs and mores, prevailed over the parents' wish to have their children exempted from mixed swimming lessons," the ECHR said in its ruling.
The Turkish couple had appealed after getting fined for keeping their daughters home from swimming. They were both "fervent practitioners of the Muslim religion," the ECHR said.
The Supreme Court of Germany decided in December that Muslim girls should participate in swimming lessons with boys. They simply suggested that the girls could wear the burqini. Great integration.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is connected to the Council of Europe and has nothing to do with the EU.
It is gratifying that the court chose integration and equality rather than Islam. It should never have been necessary with a judicial decision on such a question in Europe. But unfortunately, the times have become such that we have to defend our own values in court. This time we kept religious fanaticism at bay.
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