German court rules Muslim girl must attend swim class

German court rules Muslim girl must attend swim class

13-year-old argued that sight of bare-chested male students breached her religious modesty

Burqa-clad women (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Burqa-clad women (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

BERLIN — A court in Germany has ruled that a Muslim girl cannot be excused from mixed-sex swimming lessons on the grounds of religious belief.

The 13-year-old girl from Frankfurt had argued that the sight of bare-chested male pupils breached her religious modesty.

She also claimed that accepting the school’s offer that she herself could wear a full-body “burkini” swimsuit in the pool would expose her to discrimination among her peers.

But Germany’s Federal Administrative Court ruled Wednesday that it was reasonable to compromise between the girl’s religious freedom and the state’s duty to educate its citizens.

The dpa news agency reported that the unnamed girl’s father said before the verdict that he would accept the ruling.

About 5 percent of Germany’s population of 80 million is Muslim.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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