WILMINGTON, Delaware – The mayor of Wilmington, Delaware, has apologized in a public statement to two Muslim children who were kicked out of a public pool in what was regarded as discrimination.
“We should be held accountable for what happened and how poorly we assessed this incident,” Mike Purzycki said in a statement cited by 14News on Thursday.
“I apologize to the children who were directed to leave a city pool because of the religious-required clothing they were wearing. We also referred to vaguely-worded pool policies to assess and then justify our poor judgment, and that was also wrong.”
According to the mother, Tahsiyn Ismaa’eel has been taking children from her Wilmington, Delaware, summer camp to Foster Brown pool for years.
It started when Ismaa’eel and about 15 children went to the pool in late June. A staff member told her that her children couldn’t wear “that cotton” to the pool.
The mother confirmed that other kids were also wearing cotton and were not told to leave.
The conflict reached a climax last week when a pool official tapped several of Ismaa’eel’s hijab-wearing wards on the shoulder and told them they had to leave.
“I believe it was discrimination, deep down in my bones,” she told The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, Zainab Chaudry, spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, has condemned the behavior of the pool official and stressed that American Muslims experience discrimination regularly.
“All Americans are entitled to reasonable religious accommodations while using public facilities,” said Chaudry.
“And it is unlawful to discriminate against members of any group because of their religious attire.”