Swimming and Social Integration in Switzerland

Should Swiss Muslim girls be forced to swim with boys? Muslim integration has been an ongoing issue in Europe for the past several years. In 2009, a woman in France was banned from swimming in a public pool in a burkini, and in 2013, a German judge ruled that a 13-year old girl must attend mixed gender swimming lessons. The latest debate occurred in Switzerland.

 

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Switzerland was justified in “enforcing the full school curriculum” when two Swiss nationals, of Turkish origin, refused to send their daughters to mandatory swimming lessons in the Swiss town of Basel. The parents insisted that forcing the girls, ages seven and nine, to go to swimming lessons with boys was a violation of article nine of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

 

The European Court of Human Rights, however, said a full Swiss education is part of successful social integration, and that laws are intact to prevent students from any type of social exclusion. Exemptions from lessons are rare. The parents were fined 1,400 Swiss francs for not sending the girls to swimming lessons.

 

Muslim social integration is a controversial issue in Europe. Politicians continue to debate the effects of multiculturalism, secular tradition, female equality, cultural assimilation and social integration. Is forcing Swiss Muslim girls to swim with boys a violation of religious freedom or an attempt at social integration? It depends which end of the pool your on.

 

Swimmers Raise Money For Charity

While many people were out celebrating the New Year, 55 swimmers in California were raising money for charity. The Piranhas Swim Club swam several miles to raise money for the Angel View Charity.

 

The Piranhas Swim Club managed to raise $4,000 for the Angel View Charity. Not only did they raise money to benefit Angel View, but they also inspired people. Fifty-two-year old Chris Vargo was one of the people who participated in the event. He was born blind and had broken his collarbone last year. However, that did not stop him from reaching his goal.

 

Chris’s goal was to swim at least 14 strokes per lane. Abby Kartzinel, who is only 13-years-old, was the youngest participant. She was in the area visiting her grandparents and decided to participate in the event.

 

Jeff Conwell and Steve Erickson sponsored the event. Jeff stated that being able to serve the communities is an honor. He also stated that he was happy to see the smiles of the participants when they reached their personal goals.

 

Angel View is an organization that provides care to special needs adults. It has an outreach program and special education classes. The company also provides outreach services to families who have children with disabilities. It served over 600 children in 2016. Families are able to get these services for free. Angel View is committed to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities.