Pool visitors told to cover up for Ramadan

Jodi - posted on 09/15/2010 ( 65 moms have responded )

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Pool visitors told to cover up for Ramadan

Padraic Murphy From: Herald Sun September 15, 2010 11:30PM



FAMILIES in Victoria are being ordered to cover up before attending a public event to avoid offending Muslims during next year's Ramadan.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has approved a ban on uncovered shoulders and thighs for a community event to be held at the Dandenong Oasis, a municipal pool.



"Participants aged 10 and over must ensure their bodies are covered from waist to knee and the entire torso extending to the upper arms," a request by Dandenong City Council and the YMCA states in an exemption application to the Equal Opportunities Act.



"Participants must not wear transparent clothing."



The request has been approved by VCAT and applies to a family event to be held at the pool next August.



"The applicant intends this to be an event where people of all races and religions and ages may attend, use the Centre's facilities and socialise together," VCAT notes.



"The holy month of Ramadan has a particular focus on families and the applicant wishes to encourage families to attend and socialise together with others.



"The minimum dress requirements are set having regard to the sensitivities of Muslims who wish to participate in the event."



The ban on skimpy clothes will apply between 6.15 and 8.15pm on August 21 next year, a time when the pool is closed to the public and normally used by a Muslim women's swimming group.



The ban was yesterday compared by the Human Rights Commissioner Helen Szoke to a ban on thongs in a pub.



"Matters such as this are not easy to resolve and require a balance to be achieved between competing rights and obligations," she said.



"Dress codes are not uncommon: eg singlets, jeans, thongs etc in pubs/hotels."



Sherene Hassan, vice-president of the Islamic Society of Victoria, said she didn't support the dress restrictions.



"My preference would be that no dress code is stipulated," Ms Hassan said.



But Liberty Victoria said the ban was reasonable because the event was to be held out of hours.



A spokeswoman for the City of Greater Dandenong said the ban would help Muslims feel part of the community.



http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/natio...



What do you think? Do you think this type of ruling promotes racial tension and fosters dissent? What about sensitivities to all other cultures or religions?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Charlie - posted on 09/16/2010

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No Emma its open to the public but it is an event held for Muslim women out of normal pool hours once a year , anyone is welcome to attend the function held , i would assume since it is a function held by the Muslim community that they would have booked and hired the pool like any other function .



I think it was nice of them to invite the community in the first place but if people are going to attend THEIR function they should follow the dress code , now if this was held during opening hours it would be a different story but i ts not .

Sharon - posted on 09/16/2010

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I think its wrong.

Doesn't acceptance go both ways? I don't ask muslims to wish me a merry christmas in december. I don't ask the jewish to wear a cross at christmas. If they don't, are they not respecting my religion?

What if my religion stipulated going about naked?

I respect and accept muslims, but I don't see why I need to adopt their customs to show it. If that is what they are demanding, they can kiss my christian ass.

Petra - posted on 09/16/2010

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The group opening the pool for two hours during an out-of-hours time and requesting a special dress code is not pushing its beliefs on the public, they are essentially renting out the space, as we do for kids' parties, etc., and requesting that non-practicing Muslim attendees, who are WELCOME to come if they want to, respect the dress code. Those who say they are unaccepting of our beliefs, take a look at your own opposition to this and tell me that you are accepting of their beliefs! Its not during public pool hours, its not a permanent ban enforced on the general public and no one has to go if they don't want to. The media is stirring up reverse racism to generate controversy where none should exist. People rent public space and stipulate dress codes and social rules all the time (birthday parties, funerals, family reunions), there isn't usually a religious basis for the request - the fact a Muslim group is doing the same thing is what people are getting all shitty about. If it were just a bunch of really conservative old white women there would be no story.

Jodi - posted on 09/16/2010

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And yes, I think I am referring to a tank top, but we call them singlets. Don't ask me why though......

Sarah - posted on 09/16/2010

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I don't see how it's much different to dress codes that are enforced in other areas, like no denim at a Golf Club, or no trainers in a posh nightclub.
It's annoying sometimes, but if you really want to go there, you have to adhere. Either that, or you go somewhere else.

I don't think it's worth getting all up in arms about to be honest.

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65 Comments

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Rosie - posted on 09/19/2010

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i think i would've been more at ease with this if they had simply stated that they would like for people to dress this way, but not force them too. poeple are afraid of the different, or unknown and muslims (especially in my country) are completely mistaken as airplane crashing terrrorists. this would've been a good way to get everybody involved in the muslim culture and see how they really are, instead it failed. forcing people to do something they don't want to do isn't a good way to encourage understanding-it does the opposite. now having the option of wearing what you want would've brought in more people, and that's what we need, in my society at least is to not see these people who FORCE their belifs on others because most people see them that way already. am i making sense? lol!

Lucy - posted on 09/19/2010

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Jodi, I just think that the authorities could just ask minority groups if something actually offends or bothers them, before going to the effort of adjusting things on the basis that it might!

It reminds me of an incident in Leicester, a very multicultural city near where I live (in fact, it is the first city in the UK where white people are actually a minority!) where the council suddenly decided that the yearly Christmas light display should now be called "winter holiday lights" instead of "Christmas lights", so as not to exclude the large population of Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus. This caused a real back lash back for the Muslim community particularly, who many assumed had demanded the change. When actually ASKED by news reporters, elders of the Muslim community said they were not consulted and had no problem with the original term "Christmas lights". Ho hum. It just goes to show that how ever well meaning the authorities actions might be they are not always in touch with the genuine feeling of the population. It can stir up bad feeling between groups who, in reality, have no problem with each other.

Jess - posted on 09/19/2010

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I guess you could see this as the muslim women's group sharing their pool time with others. And in return for that warm welcome they just ask you respect their beliefs. If you don't agree simply don't attend. When you attend a private function like that you would expect to be asked to follow the rules of that function.

Jodi - posted on 09/19/2010

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"After all, the vice president of the Islamic Society said she didn't support the dress code enforcement. This kind of unasked for special treatment can get people's backs up, resulting in undeserved resentment of the religious group in question."

So on this basis, do you think political correctness can actually cause MORE dissention than goodwill? Do you think our powers that be are just going too far in the other direction?

Nikki - posted on 09/18/2010

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I completely agree Kate, It never would have raised and eyebrow if they were not Muslim women.

Kate CP - posted on 09/18/2010

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Kati: I disagree. I think if it were a Christian thing it wouldn't have even gotten air-time. :/

Rosie - posted on 09/18/2010

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i kindof have a problem with it (runs and ducks). i'm not a big fan of people expecting others to conform to their RELIGIOUS beliefs. yes i know its for 2 hours, and yes i know it's a time that's not open to the public generally. but if you put christian in the same story and a cross instead of more clothing i can guarantee alot of you would be screaming your rights were being trampled on.



i do however agree that if you don't like it then don't go, problem solved. :)

Lucy - posted on 09/17/2010

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If the council said that during the whole month of Ramadan, during normal opening hours this dress code would be enforced, that would NOT be okay. But for two hours, out of normal opening times, when the pool is usually used by a Muslim group... no problem with me. It isn't forcing anyone to change what they would usually do, as they don't usually have access to the pool at that time anyway.

it does make me laugh that the authorities always assume religious groups want certain special treatment without even asking them. After all, the vice president of the Islamic Society said she didn't support the dress code enforcement. This kind of unasked for special treatment can get people's backs up, resulting in undeserved resentment of the religious group in question.

Petra - posted on 09/17/2010

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A Ramadan celebration, held in a public pool which has been rented after-hours for the purpose of this celebration, and is opening its doors to the public with the proviso that other swimmers simply respect the dress code. What is so bloody offensive about this?

Amie - posted on 09/16/2010

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I read it as the entire communities function to attend if they choose too.

However it's being held after hours, when they normally have it rented out. So in essence, it's on their dime and time.

Jodi - posted on 09/16/2010

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Is it actually a Muslim community event or a community event? I got the impression, from this and other articles, that it was not specifically a Muslim event to celebrate Ramadan. It is a community event in a community which has a large Muslim population that just happens to occur during Ramadan.

Kate CP - posted on 09/16/2010

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Emma: They've rented to pool for a private few hours. Lots of groups do it.

Stifler's - posted on 09/16/2010

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So let me get this straight.... they have a time when only Muslim women can swim and no one else?

Charlie - posted on 09/16/2010

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Mountain out of a mole hill !!

Its being held out of hours during an event during Ramadan for Muslim women ( but open to anyone wanting to join )
If you dont like it dont attend the function , i honestly cannot believe the whinging and complaining coming from the Australian public .

Who the hell in their right mind wants to swim in August in Dandenong ?

Jodi - posted on 09/16/2010

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Actually, Tara, just to clarify, the article does state that "The applicant intends this to be an event where people of all races and religions and ages may attend, use the Centre's facilities and socialise together". It just happens to be proposed to be held when normally it is closed only for muslim women. My understanding, however, was that it was to be a community public event.

Tara - posted on 09/16/2010

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This is about being sensitive to a group of people who will be the only ones in the pool at the time (is this what is to be understood here). It is after normal hours, closed to the public only normally open to muslim swimmers? What's the big deal??
Even if the event is open to everyone to celebrate Ramadan than everyone should be respectful at least tolerant and cover up.

Sharon - posted on 09/16/2010

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Sorry - I missed that part Dana - if this time is devoted to muslim women only but because of ramadan is open to everyone, then yes, people should respect the religion and cover up.

Sarah - posted on 09/16/2010

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Trainers are shoes! Like your sneakers I guess.
Singlets are vest tops are they?!?!?!

Dana - posted on 09/16/2010

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Sharon it's only for two hrs during which it is a time when the pool is closed to the public and normally used by a Muslim women's swimming group. Doesn't that make a difference?

Dana - posted on 09/16/2010

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Yeah, we generally call them sleeveless shirts, unless you're talking about a tank top? lmao

Jodi - posted on 09/16/2010

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Dana, sorry, singlets are sleeveless tops......? No idea what you call them.

Kate CP - posted on 09/16/2010

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Oh! Sneakers. :)
I was like "First, why would adults wear training pants to a night club and second why would they not allow that?" Okay. Carry on! :)

Jodi - posted on 09/16/2010

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I think she means shoes. What do you guys call them? Runners, sneakers......sports shoes?

Kate CP - posted on 09/16/2010

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Off topic here...but what do you mean by "trainers" Sarah? When I hear or see the word "trainers" I automatically think of training pants...

Jodi - posted on 09/16/2010

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Sarah, I was just thinking about dress codes in night clubs/restaurants. They often say "no singlets" here, and YET, we women can often get away with skimpy singlets, a man can't......ironic, isn't it? Interesting analogy :)

Nikki - posted on 09/16/2010

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Sorry I worded it wrong...
"But infringing on others beliefs like that is unfair and unethical." same thing however.
They are not infringing on anyone's beliefs, the pool would normally be closed at that time, and really if a bikini is part of one's belief system there's possibly better things to concern oneself with..like tanning and blonde hair extensions.

Iris - posted on 09/16/2010

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Christina, I know you didn't say Christians. But since I know you are one and that you took offense I automatically thought you felt strongly rejected AS a Christian. But if not that then what faith is being discriminated by by the swimming pools? You seem to feel very passionate about this so you must have a clue...

C. - posted on 09/16/2010

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Iris, in my post, I said absolutely nothing about them doing something for Christians specifically. I just think if they are going to do for one religion, they should do for all. Not once did I imply that Christians have some sort of dress code or anything.

Iris - posted on 09/16/2010

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Christina, what would you like to have them do for Christians in the swimming pool? Is there any custom that is violated against Christians? I'm not being rude, just asking in honesty because I've never heard a complaint like this from a Christian before.
Since many Muslim women have a strict clothing code and this is during the time the pool is closed for public and open for the Muslim women, I don't see a problem. They are inviting people of other religions to celebrate with them. The only thing you have to do is respect their dress code. Would you go to a childs birthday party dressed like a playboy bunny? I wouldn't, not because I don't think I can pull it off, but for respect of the hosts and others.

Jessica - posted on 09/16/2010

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If you read the whole story Jessica, they are not trying to impose their views on anyone else.

I didn't say they were, the council are. What I disagree with the most is councils/government trying to speak on behalf of a people without actually asking them first. Like when some wanted to change Christmas to winter fest so as not to offend other religions. Almost every type of person from every walk of life and every type of religion opposed it because it was just silly. But they still tried to change it without actually asking whether the people wanted it.

Tracey - posted on 09/16/2010

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I don't want to go to any pool where participants may wear transparent clothing!
My objection to muslim swimming is from a recent occurance where I took my kids swimming and there where muslim ladies fully covered in wet suit like outfits - which was fine - no-one was bothered but the ladies' husbands / male companions were looking, and I mean really ogling all the non muslim females who were wearing normal swimming costumes, and the staff wouldn't take any action as that would be racist. Is the covering up to protect them from us or us from them?

C. - posted on 09/16/2010

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Everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs, or lack there of in some cases.. But this is not something that should be pushed onto others who do not follow that religion.

I think if they're going to make that a rule, then they should make a rule for EVERY religion- which would probably result in no one coming to that pool, so they probably won't. But if they won't do it for ALL religions, they shouldn't do it for ONE religion, IMO.

Nikki - posted on 09/16/2010

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If you read the whole story Jessica, they are not trying to impose their views on anyone else.

Jessica - posted on 09/16/2010

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I say, if muslims want to attend and cover themselves up then they are more than welcome. But infringing on others beliefs like that is unfair and unethical.

Jodi - posted on 09/15/2010

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Dana, I think it's the media in general. Half the time, if they didn't beat shit up, no-one would make an issue about half the things in life!!

Dana - posted on 09/15/2010

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Let me also add, that I'm glad that it's not only the American media acting like total idiots. :D

Dana - posted on 09/15/2010

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Well at first when reading the article, you think wtf....then it goes onto say that it's closed to the public and normally used by Muslim women. Then common sense prevails, or at least you hope it does.

Nikki - posted on 09/15/2010

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I haven't been able to stop thinking about this today, it doesn't help that it's been on EVERY news or morning show. It is irritating how arrogant the media are, this is what is wrong with today's society, we have become so dam self righteous and un accepting of other's cultures, beliefs and way of living that it fuels racism, which has been the main cause of terrorism attacks, wars, murders, vandalism. Wouldn't it be nice is everyone could be a little more understanding and accepting of other's differences. Who the hell does it hurt for these women to have the pool to themselves for a couple of hours, wearing what they are comfortable wearing, why is that newsworthy? because it provokes controversy, it's disgusting. I just wish they could report something nice for a change.

Jodi - posted on 09/15/2010

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I agree Krista, that's why I thought I'd put this up here and see what you ladies thought :)

Krista - posted on 09/15/2010

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Nikki has a point -- this media coverage is doing nothing other than stirring shit.

Amie - posted on 09/15/2010

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I agree with the other ladies. It's really a non issue. It's one place for 2 hours. If you don't like it, don't go.

It only fosters tension with the morons who do not take the time to find out exactly what is going on. As Nikki said, people only hear half the story then go off the reserve with their speculations.

Do other cultures/religions want to take two hours out of a day for one of their festivities at one place and enforce a certain aspect of it? Let them if they do. If not, then they have no business complaining if they are.

Lindsay - posted on 09/15/2010

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I don't see a problem with it at all. Like others have already stated, it's a 2 hour event on one day. If someone is offended, they don't have to go. Different places are fine to enforce certain dress codes. I think it's a nonissue really.

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