March 29, 2017

January 9, 2014

Private Sharia Swimming for Muslim Women In Public Facilities

Creeping Sharia has an interesting article on a Minnesota YMCA that has started allowing Muslim girls to have closed swimming sessions.

Apparently reporter Nicole Norfleet cannot bring herself to pen the word sharia. But that’s exactly what this is.

To better accommodate girls like Dhamuke, the downtown St. Paul YMCA, in partnership with the St. Paul Police Department, has started a swim group for Somali-American girls. The group, which began in October, is serving as an outlet for girls ages 5 to 17 to learn the basics of swimming.

Their being Somali is somewhat insignificant. If they were atheists, Christians, Jews or Hindu’s from Somalia – they’d swim with the rest of us.

Special considerations have to be made to address modesty concerns so that the Muslim girls can swim and not reveal too much of themselves.

To abide by…sharia law.

During the hourlong swim practice, all other swimmers are cleared out of the pool. The men’s locker room is locked. Female life guards are brought in. The pool, which is on the building’s third floor, has no windows so they don’t have to worry about prying eyes from outside.

St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith had discussions with Britts to let the Y know that, through the department’s connections with the Somali-American community, they had learned that such a group was needed.

“I think this is just a great opportunity for them to learn basic skills that we take for granted,” said Sgt. Jennifer O’Donnell, who has worked with the Somali community regularly during her time with the department.

To be honest, Minnesota is not blazing a new trail here.  They are simply following in the footsteps of Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland, Harvard, MIT - to name but a few.

Other than the obvious issue with this practice, what about the more far-reaching ones such as:

1.  Why are gyms allowed to close for exclusive Muslim only swim classes but bakery shops are not allowed to refuse service to anyone?
2.  Why are tax funded entities such as the fire department allowed to participate with government paid resources?
3.  If a Christian group were to request a closed time where they could swim without participation from non-Christians, would the request be allowed?  Could they rely on the local fire department to provide transportation?

There are lots more questions but you probably see where this is going.

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Remind me, what does the ‘C’ in YMCA stand for again?

[1] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 1-9-2014 at 03:56 PM · [top]

Ach .. there you go, bringing reality into the picture along with that ‘C’ word !!

[2] Posted by Reformed Catholic on 1-9-2014 at 04:14 PM · [top]

Actually, #1 & 2, the organization which had been known as the ‘YMCA’ decided in 2010 to change it’s logo to just ‘The Y’, dropping ‘Christian’ altogether.  Kinda like churches taking down crosses.

[3] Posted by priestwalter on 1-9-2014 at 04:34 PM · [top]

I wonder I the remote bathhouses in Japan will ever have to knuckle under to sharia.

[4] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 1-9-2014 at 05:26 PM · [top]

I suspect that there is a bit of unspoken extortion going on as well as PC blindness to the special privileges being granted.  If we get Muslims distressed because we didn’t .make room for their peculiar practices, who knows what might happen?

[5] Posted by AnglicanXn on 1-9-2014 at 06:30 PM · [top]

If there’s an interest in girls-only swim lessons, that’s one thing.  It should be open to all girls of any background.

[6] Posted by Katherine on 1-9-2014 at 07:27 PM · [top]

I remember when nice Christians didn’t indulge in “mixed bathing”.  Man, do I feel old.

Seriously, I’m in favour of sex-segregated activities for kids of a certain age. Boys need to be boys with other boys. Maybe the same is true of girls.

[7] Posted by Words Matter on 1-9-2014 at 08:17 PM · [top]

“Remind me, what does the ‘C’ in YMCA stand for again?”

While on the topic, what does the ‘M’ stand for?  wink

[8] Posted by AndrewA on 1-9-2014 at 08:30 PM · [top]

For years, westerners were fascinated with Hinduism and Buddhism, but they never made these kinds of concessions to practitioners of those faiths.  But along comes Islam, the most violent, misogynistic, homophobic excuse for a religion one could possibly conceive—a religion that is as politically incorrect and inimical to liberal western values as once can imagine—and, time after time, the West rolls over for them.  I can think of no other explanation than that this is a monstrous demonic deception being perpetrated on the world.  Anyone have any other theories???

[9] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 1-9-2014 at 08:30 PM · [top]

Better question - Why don’t they swim at the YWCA in St. Paul?  (“At the YWCA St. Paul it’s never too early or too late to learn to love the water. Whether you are looking to take lessons, perfect your strokes, join a team or try a water fitness class, our pool is open and we’re ready to help!”  ~

Or, just cross the river to Minneapolis - (“The YWCA of Minneapolis offers swimming and aquatics training for all ages. Infants, children and adults can learn to swim from our instructors through group or private lessons.”  ~

Yes, yes, I know the YWCA has opened it’s doors to me.  But doesn’t it make more sense for the YWCA to limit times to women only than a YMCA?

[10] Posted by Dragonfly on 1-10-2014 at 05:58 AM · [top]

Dragonfly, That would be *waaaay* too sensible. They must make a political point so they are going to the YMCA.

[11] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 1-10-2014 at 08:59 AM · [top]

I think a male Jew should try to join the class and then file a discrimination complaint if refused.

#7, I remember when guys didn’t wear swimsuits in the YMCA pool.

#9, deception is the only power that demons and their boss have. It’s about all they need.

[12] Posted by Ralph on 1-10-2014 at 09:05 AM · [top]

When I was a teenager during the 1970s being raised in the United Pentecostal Church, we were taught that mixed-gender swimming outside of family groups, was inappropriate (not as though many families in our poor congregation had household swimming pools…).  I guess I agree with @6—as long as the swim times are only segregated by gender, and not by religious affiliation, there shouldn’t be a problem. Christianity and Islam both teach physical modesty, and if same-sex swimming fosters that virtue, I don’t see a problem with it. However, I don’t see why Moslem women should have their one facility time, distinct from non-Moslem women. I would be surprised if an Islamic scholar could demonstrate Koranic support for that concept.

[13] Posted by KevinBabb on 1-10-2014 at 04:26 PM · [top]

I don’t see a problem with a women’s-only swim time—several communities have those, and considering the onset of female-only exercise places (Gold’s Gym often has a women-only area, and of course there is the gym Curves). A Muslim-only swim time, however, seems unenforceable ... and frankly, bizarre.

In suburban Seattle the park authority decided to accommodate Muslims (and not run afoul of equal access laws) by implementing separate men-only and women-only swim hours once a week. Of course, there is no demand for a men-only swim hour, but it prevents accusation of discrimination.

[14] Posted by Jeff Walton on 1-10-2014 at 04:30 PM · [top]

I haven’t commented on Stand Firm for about 5 years, and am going to zap myself back off as soon as I finish this, so don’t bother to reply, because I won’t see it.  I don’t like Muslims, or anybody else, getting special privileges BUT, where I grew up the YMCA, YWCA, public and private pools all had available sex segregated swimming sessions. (BTW, public schools had pools and all sessions were same sex).  Mixed sex sessions were the norm, but same sex sessions were available at specified times. Boys swam without trunks at the indoor pools (I think it was supposed to make you tough and ready to be drafted) and the girls swam in separte sessions.  Most, if not all of this was due to the religious beliefs of those pesky Baptists in East Texas who thought mixed bathing encouraged pre-marital sex.  (Actually that might have been ture, but that’s a whole other tale to tell). Also, see comment #7. Anyway, don’t be ragging other cultures so readily, when your own culture inveneted the same things.  There are plenty of other reasons to be worried about radical Islam other than same sex swimming! My guess is the Union will survive same sex swimming. Adieu

[15] Posted by David Keller on 1-10-2014 at 04:32 PM · [top]

“Most, if not all of this was due to the religious beliefs of those pesky Baptists in East Texas who thought mixed bathing encouraged pre-marital sex.”

And pre-marital sex is particularly dangerous because it could lead to dancing.  grin

[16] Posted by AndrewA on 1-10-2014 at 06:46 PM · [top]

You’d think #15 must not have read the thread, since his objection has been answered several times. But since he just scurried off with his hands over his ears, perhaps he did read it after all. What is the point of such behavior?

[17] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 1-10-2014 at 07:47 PM · [top]

#17 - Makes him feel better, I suppose.  And if we have learned nothing else from Tec, it is ALL ABOUT FEELINGS.

[18] Posted by Jackie on 1-11-2014 at 08:47 AM · [top]

#15 David Keller—(I’m aware he says he’s gone but still…) The point, in my view, isn’t the single-gender swimming program; it’s that a non-Christian religious group has been granted this request based on their religious beliefs. A Christian group would stand a high chance of having the same or a similar request turned down on the basis that it showed preference or favoritism towards Christians. From what I’ve seen, it seems that our society tends to overlook the granting of religious preferences when it’s a non-Christian religious group doing the asking.

[19] Posted by Emerson Champion on 1-11-2014 at 09:32 AM · [top]

#19 Emerson Chapman, “A Christian group would stand a high chance of having the same or a similar request turned down on the basis that it showed preference or favoritism towards Christians.” This is pure speculation.

The fact is that most Christians don’t maintain the same level of modesty that devout Muslim women do. Maybe that’s the issue: Christians don’t care enough about modesty to ask for this kind of accommodation. We either swim in mixed groups because that’s what people do or we choose not to swim at the Y. And we do that because we don’t really care that much about setting ourselves apart in the area of modesty.

Interesting food for thought in Christian circles, I should think, as we all head down to the pool to swim with men and women who might as well be naked for all their swimwear actually covers.

I read here that this is a single gender swim, not a Muslim only swim. I don’t hear Muslims demanding that no one be allowed to swim in mixed groups or saying that people who participate in that activity should be punished. Weighing the facts, I think I’ll hold off getting upset about this for right now.

[20] Posted by AnnieV on 1-11-2014 at 11:21 AM · [top]

Go back and read the actual post. This is Muslim women/girl swim time.  I don’t think anyone objects to single gender swim times. Even secular Fitness clubs have had single gender swim times. However, the main point is an accommodation for Muslims that would NOT be given to any other group especially a Christian group. While it can be seen as *accommodation* it can also be seen as *discrimination*. 

I think it is even more important to consider how asking for a Christian girls only swim time would go over in a Muslim country. Would it even be considered? NO WAY!! Instead they would be trying to convert the Christian girls by any means possible including threats.

[21] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 1-11-2014 at 12:22 PM · [top]

Except it isn’t clear to me that’s actually the case here. I read the post and I do actually think people here would object to gender segregated swim if it were initiated to accommodate Muslims.

This website used to be a valuable place to read well-informed articles relevant to the theological and social concerns of Anglicans. I don’t know what to call it any more but would a moderator please delete my account? I don’t want any part of this.

[22] Posted by AnnieV on 1-11-2014 at 09:42 PM · [top]

AnnieV,  No accounts are deleted as that would throw off the numbering of posts. So it is not done. However, you are free to not use your account.  If you don’t like this website, you don’t have to participate.  It is still a valuable place for sharing information and opinions regardless of whether you like it or don’t.

[23] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 1-11-2014 at 10:09 PM · [top]

If there’s such certainty that it’s Muslim-women only, not women-only, maybe a Christian group of women should seek their own time.  They could refer to Paul’s epistles as the reason women and men should not see each other in bathing suits, ask for reserved time (not 4a, but a normal time), and if denied, take it to court. 
Where do Jewish groups go for swimming?  I’m thinking of Hasidic, since they’re so strict.

[24] Posted by maineiac on 1-12-2014 at 11:24 AM · [top]

Creeping Sharia has another article: “Michigan: Muslim fatally beats new bride.”  Apparently I’ve not linked the article correctly - only got the title here.  That a Muslim man beat and killed his wife, here in America, is not my point.  No disrespect to the victim intended but that’s a bit dog-bites-man story.  What caught my attention was her burial service. 

Nezami was buried Dec. 18 in a local cemetery. As a light snow fell, the hospital’s chaplain, the Rev. Leon Jarvis, read Muslim prayers over the casket while about 20 people, mostly nurses and others who cared for her, watched.

Jarvis, an Episcopal priest, said he pledged to Nezami’s father that “as long as I draw breath and live in this city, your daughter will never be alone.”

What, pray tell, is the Rev. Leon Jarvis, an Episcopal “priest” doing conducting a Muslim burial service and what does his bishop think?  Perhaps I don’t want to know!

[25] Posted by Nikolaus on 1-12-2014 at 01:24 PM · [top]

I went back and read the article, some of the other sharia-watch articles, and the Star-Tribune article that very carefully identified the girls as Somalis, never using the M-word. A couple of things occurred to me:

1.) It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we are talking about children - girls - learning to swim. Is it so bad to accomodate them? What it one someday jumps in the water and saves a drowning child? And so on…  these are children, and the adults in the room don’t need to take out our fights on them.

2.) The Y is a private organization and can do what it wants to do with it’s pools.  I do wonder why an Islamic Center in a large city can’t build it’s own pool, but the principle remains that a private organization can do what it wants. Ok, the cops are helping with transportation.  Building good will in the community is generally part of good policing. Anyway, twice when my car was stolen and found, they gave me rides. Why should I complain?  In some of the other stories, it appears that public pools can be rented out for private parties. What’s the problem with that? Public schools are rented out at times to churches, AA groups, and garden clubs.

3.) This country has a long history of immigration, with it’s attendant struggles. Google up the Know-Nothings and Bloody Monday. There really are struggles when cultures meet, and this culture is probably the most open to it in the world. That’s to our credit. 


[26] Posted by Words Matter on 1-12-2014 at 01:47 PM · [top]

In my view, this has nothing to do with girls swimming and everything to do with making an accommodation based on religion. The Y being a private organization should mean they can choose what associations they want to make, but the precedent of a cake-baker and a photographer not being able to choose their associations clouds the issue.

[27] Posted by Emerson Champion on 1-12-2014 at 05:09 PM · [top]

Words Matter, a non-Muslim Somali would be hard to find.  It’s true that the Y can do what it wants; I also think that cake bakers and photographers should be able to associate as they choose and do the work they feel comfortable doing.  Since the Y is an organization which purports to serve the entire community, it seems it would be sensible, if there’s a demand, to offer separate-sex swimming lessons by age group.  Maybe some of these Somali girls would meet girls from outside their ethnic group, and some local MN non-Somali girls would also expand their horizons.

[28] Posted by Katherine on 1-12-2014 at 07:28 PM · [top]

I agree with Katherine. Same sex swim times or group lessons seems a pretty reasonable accommodation to me. An accommodation for a religion though is bit more troublesome. As Katherine pointed out if the Y can do this sort of accommodation, why should not a baker be able to do business with whom they want as well.

[29] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 1-12-2014 at 08:00 PM · [top]

#28 and 29

All I’m really saying is that in the world of real problems, this is pretty small beer. IIRC, the Somali community has had some problems in Minneapolis. The men who worked as taxi drivers objected to transporting dogs or people carring liquor. Was it there that a cashier in a store refused to touch pork products?  Do I have the right city?  At any rate, I do agree that a reasonable accomodation (a next step, if you will) is to schedule sex-segregated swim sessions that are not specific to a religious or ethnic group.

I have argued on other blogs against the application of public accomodation laws to same-sex marriages, or same-sex anything.  But I hope we are better than the homosexualists and secularists who are shoving their prejudices down our throats. And then there is the HHS mandates, which are a terrible assault on religious freedom.  Tit-for-tat is their game. 

So if some Somali girls get an accomodation, that’s ok by me.

[30] Posted by Words Matter on 1-13-2014 at 02:08 PM · [top]

“I have argued on other blogs against the application of public accomodation laws to same-sex marriages, or same-sex anything. ...So if some Somali girls get an accomodation, that’s ok by me.”

I’m not sure you can parallel a church not wanting to perform a “same sex wedding” or a photographer not wanting to do a same sex ceremony, with excluding someone from a place simply due to their religion. That would be more akin to excluding someone because of their race. Homosexuals are perfectly free to enter the bakery and buy a cookie. They just can’t dictate what cookies the bakery bakes. The two are not symmetrical. Their exclusion is one more example of the left’s “shoving their prejudice down our throats”.

“All I’m really saying is that in the world of real problems, this is pretty small beer.”

Yes, the temperature increase in the frog’s pot is barely detectable. If it is so small,
then the Somalis should drop it and learn to be more tolerant. Or maybe small issues become big, when members of the “religion of peace” start making faces and screaming. In that case it’s a bad idea to indulge them. I hope when you talk about them getting an accomodation, you mean segregated swimming and not what the “accomodation” is now.

Also, you should be wary of the argument “Conservatives shouldn’t push for X, because that would mean liberals would be able to push for X’”. I’ve got news for you, liberals are already pushing for X’ and they will do so no matter what conservatives do. This is just a con.

[31] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 1-13-2014 at 03:44 PM · [top]

with excluding someone from a place simply due to their religion. “

“The Y” is not a public accommodation or government organization.  Their pools are not public property.

It is a private group using private property.  I think any private group should be able to exclude anyone for any reason or no reason at all.  Even “I don’t like your face” should be an excuse.

As far as I’m concerned, there nothing inherently wrong with them setting any standards they want as far as who they want in their pools and at what time.  If they want to set up a pool time for red headed left handed step children, more power to them!

I do wonder about the role of the police in this, and if the police also provide similar services to other private community groups. 

Maybe some of these Somali girls would meet girls from outside their ethnic group, and some local MN non-Somali girls would also expand their horizons.

I dare say that if their parents wanted to, there is no want preventing them from taking them their kids to public swim times.

If there’s such certainty that it’s Muslim-women only, not women-only, maybe a Christian group of women should seek their own time. 

This is Muslim women/girl swim time.

The church youth group I belonged to sometimes rented public pools for private swim times.  No one denied us because we were Christian.  Granted if was mixed gender, but I have no reason to think that we would have been treated any different if it was just the boys of the youth group or just the girls of the youth group.

Boy scout and girl scout groups reserve pools for unit activities all the time.  No one denies them because they are all-male or all-female groups.

For example:

“SPECIAL GROUPS: Small youth groups (church, community, scouts etc.) are eligible for special swims during non-peak sessions. Approval must be obtained in advance from the Recreation Department Office.’‘

This is just another community group reserving time through a private organization in a private pool.  The only reason folks even care is because they are Muslim.

How many times have you complained about Christian groups doing the same thing?

[32] Posted by AndrewA on 1-13-2014 at 04:29 PM · [top]

#31 -

In some ways, the public accommodations and HHS issues are opposites of the swimming question. The former two compel morally repugnant behavior, the latter permits behavior that is not immoral. What unites them is that in all three cases, an accommodation is being requested. It seems inconsistent for us Christians request accommodations and complain other folks receiving accommodations. Moreover, tolerance by the Somalis is not at issue:  they are only asking that their religious scruples be respected.  As I said before, it’s not like this is the first time cultures have clashed in the U.S.

start making faces and screaming

Well, I wonder what response by Americans and Christians is likely to elicit that screaming? What response is likely to minimize it? 

This is just a con.

Maybe, or maybe not. Maybe it’s what it appears to be: a community wanting their daughters to learn to swim without violating their religious scruples.  In any case, we already know how to respond:

Matthew 5:

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

[33] Posted by Words Matter on 1-13-2014 at 08:57 PM · [top]

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