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Vienna swimming pool burkini ban sparks protest
Vienna's Stadthallenbad. Photo: Manfred Werner/Wikimedia

Vienna swimming pool burkini ban sparks protest

The Local · 12 Sep 2016, 06:59

Published: 12 Sep 2016 06:59 GMT+02:00

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The row started when a young Muslim woman was told to leave the ‘Stadthallenbad’ indoor swimming pool in Vienna.

The young woman, a 23-year-old student, said she was particularly annoyed because she had telephoned before and had been told that burkinis were allowed.

However when she arrived she and her friend who was also wearing a burkini were told to leave by a swimming pool employee.

She said: "They said that we could not swim in the pool for hygiene reasons."

Management at the swimming pool explained that this was because rules dictate that all swimwear be made of an appropriate fabric, and they said that one of the women was wearing a cotton burkini which was deemed unsuitable.

Many public pools ban cotton swimwear because it is heavy and can weigh a person down and is therefore dangerous. It also frays, clogging up filter equipment and also there is a greater tendency for cotton items to have also been worn out on the street - increasing the risk of dirt and bacteria getting into the water.

The woman however said it was racist and has filed complaints at the Austrian Islamic Community and the Anti-Racism Advisory Board ZARA, and said that many of her friends and supporters were now planning to visit the pool dressed in burkinis to protest what happened.

Story continues below…

Swimming pool spokesman Manred Faly said: "Burkinis are basically accepted, as long as they comply with health and safety rules and hygienic standards. Of importance here is the fabric of the burkini which should be water repellent and fast-drying. These are rules that apply to all bathers."

Story courtesy of Central European News. 

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