Swiss Muslim girls must swim with boys, says European Court
Jan 10, 2017 01:19 PM EST
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has declared victory to Switzerland court over Muslim parents who refused to allow their daughters to gender-mixed swimming lessons on the basis of their religion.
The case, according to BBC, was brought by the parents of Turkish-Swiss nationals, who appealed to the court over a fine issued by education authorities when they refused to send their daughters to the compulsory mixed swimming lessons in Basel
The parents argued that the requirement imposed by the school violated their right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion as stated in article 9 of the European Convention of Human Right. The said requirement is effective until the age of puberty as part of the school's education curriculum.
The court, while acknowledged that such requirement indeed poses an interference with the freedom of religion, said that the law involved represented a "legitimate aim" and was designed to protect foreign pupils from any social exclusion, and Switzerland was free to create its education system based on its own traditions and needs.
The fine of 1,400 francs imposed on the parents (350 Swiss francs ($345) each per child), according to the court, was proportionate to the aim, reported Al-Jazzera.
It also noted that the court had tried to reach a compromise with the parents such as allowing the girls to wear burkinis during the lessons, and to change clothes with no boys in the room.
With 47-member Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights was established to oversee the European Convention on Human Rights, and is not part of the European Union institution.
Last year, the process of citizenship application for the two family of two teenage Muslim brothers who refused to shake hands with female teachers, was suspended by the officials in Basel.
The country also applied the law to a man of Bosnian origin in 2016, of which refused to allow his daughter to take part in swimming lessons during school hours.