German school buys burkinis for Muslim girls to ‘support’ integration
The Pestalozzi Gymnasium in Herne bought 20 burkinis to ensure that Muslim students participate in swimming lessons and to support integration, headmaster Volker Gößling confirms.
“Now nobody has an excuse anymore for not taking part in swimming lessons,” Gößling says. According to him swimming lessons are part of integration and German culture.
The reason behind the initiative is that without the burkinis, Muslim girls wouldn’t participate. “I want everybody to learn how to swim and I create the right conditions for that,” the headmaster adds.
Almost 400 euros were spent on buying the Islamic garments. The money comes, among other things, from a charity run. Presently, fifteen girls have accepted the school’s offer.
The school’s initiative was heavily criticised. Education expert, Klaus Spenlen calls says the school “throws away traditions it should never abandon” and calls it a form of “preventive obedience”.
Swimming lessons are available at the Herner Schule in the sixth and eighth grade. People close to the school say that many Muslim youths had denied the swimming lessons on religious grounds.