Skiplink Navigation

Main Features

Should Muslim girls swim? Schools try to smooth waves in Muslim swimming controversy

How do schools cope with Muslim families who want to prevent their daughters from attending swimming lessons? Swiss public television, SRF, talked to school principals and an imam about the controversy. (SRF/

On Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights upheld a decision by Swiss authorities to fine Muslim parents who had kept their girls from mandatory swimming lessons during school hours.

In 2010, Basel City authorities fined the couple CHF1,400 ($1,382) for pulling their nine- and seven-year-old daughters from swim class. The family had argued that it was against their religious convictions to send their girls to co-ed swimming lessons on account of the required attire. 

This was not the first time that a Muslim family had a problem with the swimming lessons that are a standard part of the Swiss curriculum. SRF talked to two school principals to see how they had dealt with the issue, as well as an imam to get his thoughts on whether donning a typical swimming costume was appropriate.

Neuer Inhalt

Horizontal Line

subscription form

Form for signing up for free newsletter.

Sign up for our free newsletters and get the top stories delivered to your inbox.

Click here to see more newsletters

swissinfo EN

The following content is sourced from external partners. We cannot guarantee that it is suitable for the visually or hearing impaired.

Join us on Facebook!