Neil Millard, This Is London, August 17, 2009
A London council has backtracked on rules forcing swimmers to cover up at a public pool to avoid offending Muslims.
Croydon council has removed the guidelines from its website after being criticised for barring non-Muslims if they refused to comply with the dress code.
They were put in place for weekend swimming sessions for Muslims at Thornton Heath Leisure Centre despite a general ban on wearing T-shirts in the pool.
The council’s online statement read: “During special Muslim sessions, male costumes must cover the body from the navel to the knee and females must be covered from the neck to the ankles and wrists.”
Croydon Mosque and Islamic Centre praised the rules but said it would never have asked for them.
Trustee Shuaib Yusaf said: “If it was designated as a Muslim session to encourage Muslim women to come along, to that extent I could see a degree of merit in it.”
Malcolm Wicks, Labour MP for Croydon North, said asking non-Muslims to dress up to swim was not fair: “I just hope some common sense can prevail here.”
[Editor’s Note: The story about non-Muslims’ being required to dress as Muslims at public pools can be read here.]