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Norway allows burkini swimsuits in city pools

Muslim women given freedom to cover in public pools

Published:

Authorities in the Norwegian capital of Oslo have allowed Muslim woman to use municipal swimming pools while wearing what has become known across Europe as a burkini, a local official told NRK radio Friday.

"Some people say they need to cover up," Jan Zander, responsible for sports and recreation, said. "We think it is important that those who live in this city can bathe and use the pools."

The ruling comes as Oslo's neighboring European country's crack down on the swim attire, which resembles a wetsuit with built-in hood. Recently, a Paris swimming pool refused entry to a young Muslim woman wearing burkini.

Officials cited hygiene rules, adding to tensions over Muslim dress in France and sparking a threat by the woman of a lawsuit.

The anti-immigration mayor of the northern Italian city of Varallo Sesia has also barred Muslim women from wearing the swimsuit and said they risk paying a fine of €500 ($700) if spotted at swimming pools or riversides.

"The sight of a 'masked woman' could disturb small children, not to mention problems of hygiene," mayor Gianluca Buonanno was quoted as saying.

The new Oslo regulations quoted by the radio said swimmers who cover their bodies for cultural and religious reasons have to wear clean clothing designed especially for bathing.

Zander denied that such garments were necessarily unhygienic.

We think it is important that those who live in this city can bathe and use the pools

Jan Zander