Swedish court rejects lawsuit by Muslim women expelled from swimming pool

STOCKHOLM, Sweden: Two Muslim women who were expelled from a public swimming pool because of their clothing were not victims of discrimination, a Swedish court ruled Wednesday.

The women, who wore headscarves, sweat pants and long-sleeved T-shirts, accompanied their children to the pool in Goteborg on two separate occasions in April 2004, but were asked to leave after refusing to change clothes.

Lifeguards said their clothes would pose a safety risk in case they needed to jump into the water to help their children, court documents showed. Pool regulations stated that all parents accompanying their children to the pool must be ready to assist them in an emergency.

Sweden’s Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination sued the city of Goteborg, saying that other people with full clothing were not asked to leave the pool, and said the women had been singled out because of their religion.

The Goteborg District Court rejected the lawsuit, saying there was not enough evidence to prove that the women had been discriminated against.

“I am disappointed,” Ombdusman Katri Linna said. “I can already now say that we will appeal.”

She had requested 150,000 kronor (about €16,000 or US$21,000) in damages for each of the women.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday March 8, 2007.
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