Lower Austrian swimming pool bans burkinis
Burkinis (the full head-to-ankle swimsuit worn by some Muslim women) have now been banned from a swimming pool in the town of Hainfeld in Lower Austria - by order of the council.
The Krone newspaper reports that the motion was submitted by councillor Peter Terzer, of the right-wing Freedom Party.
Mayor Albert Pitterle confirmed that from now on, swimmers will be required to wear appropriate swimwear in the water, that meet sanitary standards. He said no particular incident had prompted the ban, and that actually the bathing rules requiring appropriate swimwear had been in place “for decades”.
Terzer told a local newspaper that he was pleased the burkini ban had been adopted and that a text had been formulated which ensures that “no one wearing a burkini can enter the pool”.
In addition to the dress code, the council also discussed the potential for sexual assaults in the swimming pool, with Terzer expressing concerns that better security was needed. However, the mayor said the lifeguards were trained to look out for swimmers’ personal safety and that there had never been any incidents of sexual assault at the pool.
A sexual assault was recently reported at a swimming pool in the town of Mistelbach, around 60 miles north of Vienna. After the incident local authorities placed a temporary ban on asylum seekers entering the pool, until it had increased security measures.
A swimming pool in Basel, Switzerland, recently banned looser styles of burkinis - saying it was hard to distinguish them from street clothes.
Earlier this year, the British department store chain Marks & Spencer launched its own burkini line in Europe to appeal to the growing “Islamic fashion” market, combining modern design with Muslim principles of modesty.