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Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

Hijabi women arrive at Sydney swimming pool for first day of its women-only classes


Sydney (IINA) – Muslim women wearing hijabs cheerfully arrived at a swimming pool in Sydney’s west on Monday afternoon for the launch of the facility’s women-only classes.

The Blue Water Swim School at Condell Park will close their pool to men for an hour at a time on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday afternoons and Tuesday night.

This is also an aqua therapy group, Aquatic Flex, can run women’s only lessons. One woman was pictured carrying foam noodles through the pool entrance on Monday.

Fatme Taha, director of Aquatic Flex and head swimming instructor, said her clients were a diverse group of ‘young girls, moms, single moms and even grandmothers.’

‘They include women who are Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and women of no faith. All are welcome,’ she said in a statement published online.

‘We do cater for women only, and I do not and will not apologize for this,’ Taha added.

‘I encourage all my clients to take their approach to physical activity seriously and provide a setting that will help achieve this.

Aquatic Flex said the swimming groups were ‘diverse and inclusive of women from all socio-economic, cultural and religious backgrounds.’

Blue Water Swim School owner Simon Rodwell said Aquatic Flex had hired his pool to hold classes for women in the area with a high Muslim population.

‘It’s for women who want to be without any men there and, okay, a high proportion of them could be Muslim,’ he told Daily Mail Australia on Friday.

‘In western Sydney, there are a lot of Muslims here in this area, for sure.’

Instructor Taha said most of her clients were Muslim women who preferred to be segregated from men.

‘For our community, for sure, yes, they don’t like to get mixed with men,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

‘Segregated, yes, especially in the water because coming out of the water the lady feels revealed, and the clothes get tight on her, and she feels uncomfortable, so they prefer not to have men watching what they do.’

Images of women in hijab swimming costumes have been posted on Facebook to promote the classes.

They show the women in black holding foam pool noodles as part of an aqua therapy session to help deal with back pain, which is running for the next ten weeks.

In May, the council-run Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre installed a retractable curtain around one of its three pools so women could swim privately during two set time slots on Wednesdays, infuriating many western Sydney residents who said it was like ‘segregation.’

However, Simon Rodwell, who runs his privately-operated pool in an industrial area of Condell Park with his wife Narelle, said there wasn’t a backlash about the early afternoon women’s-only sessions resuming next week.

‘This is a private operation here. They’re using it at times when we wouldn’t be using it anyway,’ Rodwell said.

Source: International Islamic News Agency