City OKs hijabs, saris in public pools

Aug. 22, 2008 at 10:20 AM
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CALGARY, Alberta, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The city of Calgary, Alberta, has decided to allow Muslim women to wear the hijab headscarf and Indians to wear saris in public swimming pools, safety allowing.

One of the restrictions enacted was that saris wouldn't be permitted in the deep ends of pools because the flowing fabric could tangle around a swimmer's legs or get caught in the filter intakes, the Globe and Mail reported Friday.

Heather Bruce, the Canadian city's superintendent for aquatics and fitness, said a study found some Muslims and people of other religious minorities weren't "participating in the water because they didn't feel comfortable wearing traditional swimwear," and the goal was to accommodate everyone, but safely.

"Young women and girls, around the age of 12, would stop taking swimming lessons because they weren't comfortable in traditional swimwear," Bruce said.

The new policy stipulates the clothing must be clean and that swimmers shower in the clothing before entering the pool, she said.

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