Media personality Mark Latham says putting up curtains at a Sydney public swimming pool to cater for Muslim women is a step towards putting drapes around section of Bondi Beach – as an Islamic sheikh likened it to imposing sharia law in Australia’s suburbs.
The council-run Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre in the city’s west has installed a retractable curtain around one of its three pools so women can swim privately during two set time slots on Wednesdays, infuriating many residents who said it was like ‘segregation’.
The organiser of the swim group, Yusra Metwally, said the idea behind the sessions was to ‘accommodate people who wouldn’t otherwise swim at a beach, or swim in a swimming pool because they don’t feel comfortable’.
However Mr Latham, a former federal Labor leader, said it set an awful precedent and undermined Australia’s egalitarian values about people from all different backgrounds mixing together.
‘Where does it end? What’s the next step? Down at Bondi Beach, we’re going to have some curtained-off area, or something, it’s just ridiculous,’ he told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.
While Mr Latham supported the right of Muslim women to swim in a burkini, he said councils were bowing to left-wing demands to protect minority groups instead of encouraging individuals to come to terms with their modesty issues.
‘It’s not going to be very helpful for Islamic integration into the broader Australian community,’ he said.
…. There are even critics within the Muslim community, with Adelaide Shia imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi likening the swimming pool policy to sharia law.
‘It is part of sharia law that a strange man must not see the body of another woman, therefore they are installing the curtains,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
Sheikh Tawhidi said religious Muslims should build ‘Muslim-only swimming pools for themselves’ rather than have their laws imposed on non-Muslims.
‘Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre is not an Islamic swimming pool, therefore they should not be accepting of such an idea in the first place,’ he said.
‘The Muslim community can afford a private swimming pool for themselves that observes their sharia laws.’
[TOP RATED COMMENT 819 votes] This is so wrong…it’s your choice to come live in Australia and should live by the moral and laws in Australia why bother leaving your country if you refuse to live by another country social values?
[2ND 574] This is not correct. Inflicting this type of nonsense because of a minuscule minority is ridiculous.
[3RD 537] How totally r i d i c u l o u s.
[4TH 444] Ridiculous! It’s not like they are even paying council fees for the screens!
[5TH 367] Muslim women want to swim in private – in a PUBLIC pool? If they want a private pool to swim in they should pay for one to be built in their backyards.
[6TH 311] If it was a pool built for and by muslims and maintained by religious money then I can’t see an issue. If however it is public baths paid for by taxpayers then this is not acceptable. We should not be promoting seperatism and divides
[7TH 248] This does not represent the Australian values of equality. It is sexist to only have female lifeguards on duty and is not in the best interest of these women as it does not encourage socializing with other members of society. As a child I loved swimming with both my parents. Mum would feel nice to snuggle with and dad was fantastic to play with. Why are we allowing this segregation? [Daily Mail] Read more