A public swimming pool in Germany has caused an uproar after banning women from wearing a particular swimwear dubbed the 'burqini' – a modest swimwear worn by some Muslim women.
This came after a woman in Neutraubling chose to participate in a women-only swimming day wearing the swimming costume, that other women found objectionable, reports The Local
Town officials decided to ban it on the ground that it was a 'non-typical' swim attire.
Burqini covers most of the body, except for the face, and somewhat resembles a wetsuit.
“Why the burqini as a full-body suit would be necessary to wear during a women’s swim day is for me incomprehensible,” town mayor Heinz Kiechle reportedly said.
He said the attire “contradicts the fundamental ideas of integration and mutual understanding, which is always being discussed in many towns.”
Local media has said the woman, described as a good swimmer by witnesses, has not returned to the pool since the ban was introduced.
The council’s decision has provoked backlash throughout Germany, with campaigners arguing it is a restriction on personal choice and self-expression, The Independent
In a statement, the Green Youth party denounced it as “a blow to humanity and tolerance.”
Germany, which has the second largest Muslim population in Europe, is dealing with an increase in Muslim residents, following Angela Merkel's open-door policy for those fleeing war and persecution.
Last year, the country welcomed an estimated 1.1 million refugees.
But Germany is not the only European country where bans on Muslim clothing are taking place. In May, a Danish education centre told six Muslim students they could no longer attend classes unless they removed their niqabs, RT
The burqa and niqab have also been banned in parts of Switzerland and Italy, and both Belgium and France have placed public nationwide bans on the niqab and burqa.