Muslim schoolgirls in Switzerland must attend swimming classes with boys, European Court rules

Muslim schoolgirls in Switzerland must attend swimming classes with boys, European Court rules

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) have ruled in favor of Switzerland making it obligatory for Muslim parents to send their kids to mixed swimming lessons.

Although the ECHR acknowledged the fact that school authorities were interfering with religious freedom, however, the judges did not count it as a violation.

The court has said that Swiss authorities have the right to enforce the complete school curriculum in order to achieve a “successful integration” of the children into the society.

Two Swiss nationals of Turkish origin had brought the case to the court as they had refused to let their daughters attend mixed swimming lessons which are compulsory according to the school curriculum.

The parents had been fined  €1,300 for “acting in breach of their parental duty” after a long running dispute in 2010.

The school authorities are of the point of view that this exemption is only given to girls who have reached their puberty.

However, the parents had argued that forcing them to send their children to mixed swimming lessons is against the European Union Convention of Rights.

The ECHR said in a statement that the applicant’s right to their freedom of religion has been interfered with by not giving them exemption from mixed swimming lessons. But, on the other hand it also said that exemption will be against the law which protects foreign students from social expulsion.

The court has ruled that Switzerland can implement its education policies “according to their needs and traditions.”

It further said, “”Accordingly, the children’s interest in a full education, thus facilitating their successful social integration according to local customs and mores, prevailed over the parents’ wish to have their children exempted from mixed swimming lessons.”

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