German court rules Muslim girls must take part in swimming lessons

German court rules Muslim girls must take part in swimming lessons

Germany’s highest court has ruled that ultra-conservative Muslim girls must take part in mixed swimming classes at school, finding against an 11-year-old pupil who had argued that even wearing a burkini, or full-body swimsuit, breached Islamic dress codes.

The constitutional court in Karlsruhe on Wednesday rejected an appeal by the girl’s parents that she should be excused from the classes because a burkini did not conform with Islam’s ethic of decency, German media reported.

A spokesman for the court could not be reached for comment.

Germany is in the grip of a heated public debate about the role of Islam in society as it seeks to integrate more than a million mainly Muslim asylum seekers fleeing war and persecution who have entered this year and last.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose conservatives have been punished at the polls in regional elections by voters angry at what is seen as her open-door policy, on Tuesday proposed a ban on full-face Muslim veils.

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