The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman recommends swimming halls to lift burkini ban

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Migrant Tales wrote a story in 2013 on how the City of Vaasa, in cooperation with the Suomen Uimaopetus- ja Hengenpelastusliitto (SUH), the Finnish swimming instruction and lifesaver’s association, deemed the burkini “a security risk and not hygienic.”

The decision led to the banning of the burkini at Vaasa swimming halls.

Despite the initial eagerness to ban the burkini, the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman now recommends that all swimming halls in Finland permit the use of the burkini. According to the ombudsman, such prohibitions could be discriminatory.

I remember speaking to a representative of the City of Vaasa six years ago about its plan to ban the burkini. The attitude of the municipal official was quite hostile, asking why Muslim women should be given special liberties if men cannot wear shorts at swimming pools.

“We have for as long as I can remember men from wearing shorts [at pools]. There are no exceptions,” said the Vaasa city official, adding that “99.9% of the swimmers are for the ban.”

Read the full story (in Finnis) here.

Even if the City of Vaasa was planning to ban the burkini, no representatives of the Muslim community were contacted.

The SUH representative said that it had got in touch with the Somali Association of Finland and a Somali city councillor, but none of them had commented on the matter.

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