Auckland Council in New Zealand has apologized to Muslim women after they were told to leave a public pool because of wearing burkinis, TVNZ reported on July 22.
“The CCTV footage from the pool was being examined and staff were being spoken to, to establish exactly what happened,” acting manager of active recreation at West Wave Pool in Henderson, Jane Aickin, said.
“We do know that there were Muslim women in the pool. We do know that they were relatively fully clothed but we don’t know any of the details yet,” Aickin claimed.
“We’re very inclusive and enable all appropriate swimwear that supports any religious or ethnic diversity or belief. So, this isn’t something we’d support,” she continued.
While there are rules about certain fabrics not being allowed, Aickin admitted that “women often swam in burkinis in Auckland’s pools.”
“People have swum with burkinis in our pools plenty of times and that’s more than welcome, so that’s not an issue,” the acting manager assured.
“We have a very clear statement about swimwear of any description being welcome and we’ve so many different varieties … of swimwear. So, when we talk about what’s inappropriate it’s simply the active-wear – sweatshirts, long pants, that sort of thing – which aren’t conducive to being in the water,” she said.
Muslims in Auckland
Auckland is New Zealand’s most populous urban area with a population of around 1,628,900 according to 2018 estimates. It’s a diverse, multicultural and cosmopolitan city, home to the largest native Polynesian population in the world.
According to the 2013 Census, Muslims made 2.41% of Auckland’s total population. A burkini is a type of modesty swimsuit for Muslim women that was originally designed in Australia by Aheda Zanetti.
The suit follows the modesty regulations for women in Islamic Shari’ah as it covers the whole body except the face, the hands, and the feet while being light enough for swimming.