A father and his five-year-old son were turned away from their local swimming pool because they were the wrong religion.
David Toube, 39, and his son Harry were told that the Sunday morning session was reserved for Muslim men only.
Hackney Council, which runs the Clissold Leisure Centre in Stoke Newington, north London, claimed staff there had made a mistake.
However, the Muslim-only session was advertised on its website.
Mr Toube, a corporate lawyer, described his experiences on a blog.
“I arrived at the pool to discover that they were holding what staff described to me as “Muslim men only swimming”,” he wrote.
“I asked whether my son and I could go as we were both male. I was told that the session was for Muslims only and that we could not be admitted.
Now…I can understand: Adults Only Swim, Family Swim, Senior Swim at pool centers, but Muslim only?
Or should we say, “NO Christians, NO Jews, NO Dogs Allowed.
The manager explained that it was “a requirement of the Muslim religion that Muslims could not swim with non-Muslims.” That assertion seems to be in dispute:
Dr Taj Hargey, chair of the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford, said it was not true that Muslims could not swim with non-Muslims.
“There is no Koranic verse or any statement from the sources of Islam that says different religions should be segregated,” he said.
“The only requirement is that when women swim they should be modestly clad.”
The Prophet Mohammed is recorded as saying that it is a Muslim’s duty to learn to swim as it could save his or her life.
The swimming sessions for male Muslims were advertised as taking place every Sunday from 8am to 9.30am.
Leaflets stipulated: “It is compulsory for the body to be covered between the navel and the knees.
“Anyone not adhering to the dress code or rules within the pool will not be allowed to swim. All brothers welcome.’
It sounds like the management at the center is now backing away from the ‘Muslims only’ position:
A leisure centre spokesman said staff were wrong to refuse entry to Mr Toube.
He added: “The member of staff the user spoke with at the time was mistaken when referring to the session as Muslim-only.
“The men’s modesty session is not a private hire and is, therefore, open to the public.
“Staff cannot ask your religion on entrance and you won’t be refused entry if you don’t appear to be Muslim.”
Luckily for the folks in this North London neighborhood, the victim of this bias happened to be a lawyer, and it looks like the problem is being nipped in the bud.
Hat tip: Atlas Shrugs