SYDNEY – Australian Muslim women cheerfully arrived at a Sydney swimming pool on the first day of women-only classes and aqua therapy, integrating hijabi women into sporting facilities.
Fatme Taha, director of Aquatic Flex and head swimming instructor, said her clients were a diverse group of “young girls, mums, single mums and even grandmothers,” Daily Mail reported on Monday, July 17.
“They include women who are Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and women of no faith. All are welcome,’ she said in a statement published online.
“We do cater for women only and I do not and will not apologize for this.
“I encourage all my clients to take their approach to physical activity seriously and provide a setting that will help achieve this.”
The Blue Water Swim School at Condell Park will close their pool to men for an hour at a time on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday afternoons and Tuesday night.
Blue Water Swim School owner Simon Rodwell said Aquatic Flex had hired his pool to hold classes for women in the area with a high Muslim population.
“It’s for women who want to be without any men there and, okay, a high proportion of them could be Muslim,” he told Daily Mail Australia on Friday.
“In western Sydney, there are a lot of Muslims here in this area, for sure.”
Aquatic Flex said the swimming groups were “diverse and inclusive of women from all socio-economic, cultural and religious backgrounds.”
Images of women in hijab swimming costumes have been posted on Facebook to promote the classes.
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.
Islam is the country’s second largest religion after Christianity.