Media personality Mark Latham says putting up curtains at a Sydney public swimming pool to cater for Muslim women is a step towards putting drapes around section of Bondi Beach – as an Islamic sheikh likened it to imposing sharia law in Australia’s suburbs.
The council-run Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre in the city’s west has installed a retractable curtain around one of its three pools so women can swim privately during two set time slots on Wednesdays, infuriating many residents who said it was like ‘segregation’.
The organiser of the swim group, Yusra Metwally, said the idea behind the sessions was to ‘accommodate people who wouldn’t otherwise swim at a beach, or swim in a swimming pool because they don’t feel comfortable’.
However Mr Latham, a former federal Labor leader, said it set an awful precedent and undermined Australia’s egalitarian values about people from all different backgrounds mixing together.
‘Where does it end? What’s the next step? Down at Bondi Beach, we’re going to have some curtained-off area, or something, it’s just ridiculous,’ he told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.
While Mr Latham supported the right of Muslim women to swim in a burkini, he said councils were bowing to left-wing demands to protect minority groups instead of encouraging individuals to come to terms with their modesty issues.
‘It’s not going to be very helpful for Islamic integration into the broader Australian community,’ he said.
‘Enclaves are a disaster for Australian multiculturalism. It becomes monocultural.’
There are even critics within the Muslim community, with Adelaide Shia imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi likening the swimming pool policy to sharia law.
‘It is part of sharia law that a strange man must not see the body of another woman, therefore they are installing the curtains,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
Sheikh Tawhidi said religious Muslims should build ‘Muslim-only swimming pools for themselves’ rather than have their laws imposed on non-Muslims.
‘Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre is not an Islamic swimming pool, therefore they should not be accepting of such an idea in the first place,’ he said.
‘The Muslim community can afford a private swimming pool for themselves that observes their sharia laws.’
Some locals have slammed the idea as ‘segregation,’ saying the women are receiving ‘special treatment’.
Anthony McIntosh, manager of the centre’s operator Belgravia Leisure, said the covering for the swimming pool’s glass walls was intended to make Muslim women more comfortable with aquatic activities.
People like Anthony McIntosh may mean well, but they only perpetuate the worst aspects of Islam for women. It’s not that Muslim women can’t swim in public, it’s that Muslim men will beat or kill the Muslim women for doing so. Well done Anthony.
Mass deportation is the only solution to save the West.
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