ECHR: Muslim parents cannot refuse to send their daughters to mixed school-run swimming lessons - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14762006
nation wrote:STRASBOURG-Muslim parents in Switzerland cannot refuse to send their daughters to school-run swimming lessons with boys, Europe’s top rights court said Tuesday, dismissing a challenge by a Turkish-Swiss couple claiming the rule violated their beliefs.

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) accepted that the refusal by Swiss authorities to exempt the couple’s two daughters from the compulsory lessons interfered with their freedom of religion.

But the interference, it ruled, was justified by the need to protect the children from social exclusion.

School has become the focal point in several high-profile battles between Swiss authorities and Muslim families who say their religion prevents their children from participating in some mixed activities.

Last year, a high-profile case involving Muslim pupils in the northern canton of Basel refusing to shake hands with their female teachers caused an uproar.

School plays “a special role in the process of social integration, particularly where children of foreign origin were concerned,” the ECHR, which is based in the French city of Strasbourg, said. Swimming lessons are “not just to learn to swim, but above all to take part in that activity with all the other pupils”, it added. Several parents in Switzerland have incurred fines in recent years for keeping their daughters home from obligatory swimming lessons.

The case in Strasbourg was brought by Aziz Osmanoglu and his partner Sehabat Kocabas, a Turkish-Swiss couple living in Basel, who were among a handful of parents fined in 2010 for refusing to allow their daughters to take part in swimming lessons. All of the girls concerned were aged under 10. Osmanoglu and Kocabas argued that forcing their daughters - aged seven and nine at the start of the dispute - to attend classes that included boys until they reach puberty violated their faith. The couple unsuccessfully appealed the fine through the Swiss courts, after which they took their case to Europe’s rights court.

The ECHR found the authorities had tried to accommodate the parents’ beliefs by, for instance, allowing the girls to wear the full-body “burkini” swimsuit.

The fine of 1,400 Swiss francs (around 1,300 euros or $1,375) imposed on the couple, after a warning, was “proportionate to the aim” of getting them to comply with the regulation, the court added.

The ECHR examines alleged violations of the European Convention on Human Rights. The couple has three months to appeal the decision. The case comes against the backdrop of an acrimonious debate in Europe over the place of Islam in public life that has been fuelled by an unprecedented migrant influx largely from the Middle East, and the radicalisation of marginalised Muslim youths, thousands of whom have been drawn to extremist groups like Islamic State.

In September, Switzerland’s lower house narrowly approved a bill banning the burqa nationwide - a first step towards outlawing the full-face veil that could eventually be put to a referendum.

Last summer, several towns in neighbouring France, which already has a burqa ban, banned burkinis before being forced by the Council of State to repeal the measure.

nation
#14762156
layman wrote:Freedom of religion to be essentially sexist ?


The freedom of religion is trumped by the freedom to socially integrate. A thin-blue line clearly but the Court has decided and this has now become precedent for the entire EU.
#14762204
But the interference, it ruled, was justified by the need to protect the children from social exclusion.


The ECHR is so useless these days.

I mean look at this:

Article 9 wrote:1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

2. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.


The ECHR can basically decide whatever the Zeitgeist demands. Maybe we should call it a church and not a court.
#14762212
noemon wrote:The freedom of religion is trumped by the freedom to socially integrate. A thin-blue line clearly but the Court has decided and this has now become precedent for the entire EU.



Freedom to socially integrate? More like freedom for the state to impose it's will. Now, when it comes to migrants, they do tend to intergrate or assimilate on their own, assuming they are able to participate in the economic life of the community. The state is quite poor at managing this process and it is best to leave it to the people involved.

There are problems, such as ghettos of economically excluded people and the currently popular idea of multiculturism which rejects assimilation outright, thus failing to differentiate between natural assimilation processes and state forced assimilation. So multiculturalism, as it is understood in the West, is of little help to migrants, especially the second generation as minorities who are left confused with beliefs that place them in opposition to the majority and prevent them from critically evaluating the notion of assimilation. Both problems, ecomonic exclusion of poor immigrants from no so advanced nations (generally refugees) and indoctrination to resist assimilation, are a consequence of state policy.

Having failed with those policies, now the state is resorting to forced assimilation. One mistake after another.
#14762216
@foxdemon I think you are exaggerating. The Swiss school imposed a fine to a Muslim family who refused to send their daughters to swimming classes, the parents claimed that girls swimming with boys interfered with their religion and so the parents were given the option to dress their girls in burkinis to accommodate their religious sensitivities but they still refused.

The Muslim family then took the school to Court and lost every case in every Swiss court and then they decided to take them them to the ECHR who confirmed the decisions of the Swiss courts. Evoking religion seems quite arbitrary in this parent's case and this kind of arbitrariness should not be sanctioned, otherwise anyone would evoke religion to get out of anything, there must certainly be a line of valid religious concerns and invalid ones. These people are not being prevented from their right to worship which is essentially what religious freedom is all about. They are being held to the same standard that any Swiss parent would be if they prevented their children from such activities. This is equality before the law.
#14762226
Suntzu wrote:Yeah, Switzerland made a mistake. :lol: A country has no obligation to take any immigrants. Take a look a Japan and Korea. A country has the right to impose conditions on immigrants. These folks were immigrants from Turkey.



Your right. If they can't handle different cultural values, one must wonder why they did it in the first place.

noemon wrote:@foxdemon I think you are exaggerating. The Swiss school imposed a fine to a Muslim family who refused to send their daughters to swimming classes, the parents claimed that girls swimming with boys interfered with their religion and so the parents were given the option to dress their girls in burkinis to accommodate their religious sensitivities but they still refused.

The Muslim family then took the school to Court and lost every case in every Swiss court and then they decided to take them them to the ECHR who confirmed the decisions of the Swiss courts. Evoking religion seems quite arbitrary in this parent's case and this kind of arbitrariness should not be sanctioned, otherwise anyone would evoke religion to get out of anything, there must certainly be a line of valid religious concerns and invalid ones. These people are not being prevented from their right to worship which is essentially what religious freedom is all about. They are being held to the same standard that any Swiss parent would be if they prevented their children from such activities. This is equality before the law.



One needs to distigish between big things and little things. Accomidating conservative values by organising girl only swimming classes, or just for Muslims girls so it doesn't mean exclusion, is a little thing.

A big thing would be something like terrorism or organised crime, which must be weeded out and destroyed.

If a nation is going to accept immigrants in any number, then it does need to accept some accomodation to those immigrants ways will be required. Consider Western expats in Asian countries. They aren't expected to give up on their culture and pretend to be Asian. Furthermore, the sensible Muslim countries allow non-Muslims to consume alcohol. So I think it is better to accept the little things and leave people be. The big things, threatening others, destabilising gsociety and the state, well then authoritarian practices are justifiable.
#14762229
foxdemon wrote:Your right. If they can't handle different cultural values, one must wonder why they did it in the first place.
One needs to distigish between big things and little things. Accomidating conservative values by organising girl only swimming classes, or just for Muslims girls so it doesn't mean exclusion, is a little thing.


Not as little as dressing up your girls in burqini. You are arguing that an entire school needs to change to institutionalise gender segregation(little thing) along with the associated cost of running 2 separate sessions and requiring double salaries just because 2 people are being irrational(very important & big thing). All girls and boys to be segregated to accommodate the irrational feelings of 2 individuals. It doesn't weigh up.

If a nation is going to accept immigrants in any number, then it does need to accept some accomodation to those immigrants ways will be required. Consider Western expats in Asian countries. They aren't expected to give up on their culture and pretend to be Asian. Furthermore, the sensible Muslim countries allow non-Muslims to consume alcohol. So I think it is better to accept the little things and leave people be. The big things, threatening others, destabilising gsociety and the state, well then authoritarian practices are justifiable.


Western expats are absolutely required to behave according to Muslim standards in Muslim countries. In many of those countries they are not even allowed to worship, wear western clothes and even walk on the street with their girlfriends unless they have marriage certificates with them at all times. My father worked in the Gulf, he lived in Saudi for 10 years. I have been all around the Gulf with my mother & sisters several times throughout my life, the only western thing about the Gulf are the guarded & walled compounds on which expats like my father lived in. Your perception does not hold any water whatsoever.

In contrast western countries permit far greater rights to Muslims than Muslims permit to westerners in Muslim countries and these parents have not been prevented from practising their religion in any meaningful way.
#14762719
This is honestly a confusing situation...

I think the previous controversy about kids who do not shake hands with people of the opposite gender was a very unnecessary & silly row. Strict Shi'a and I would imagine Sunni as well do not believe in unnecessary physical contact between genders and hey, you wanted Multikulti? This is the definition of multikulti -- a foreign cultural practice significantly different from your own. It just so happens that it comes off as quite conservative.

But in this circumstance we are talking about Swiss kids being denied the right to be in a swimming pool with people of another gender for a series of lessons that increase health & fitness and teach an extremely valuable skill... and, let us be honest here, it is a bit absurd to say that prepubascent kids cannot see other prepubascent kids without their shirts on. I can understand why it wouldn't be a part of the normal cultural practice but because it is entirely normal for men to be shirtless around women and fully a part of the culture, even if it makes you uncomfortable it is such a basic expression of normalcy within Western civilization anyone at all should be expected to recognize it as a valid request.

It's kind of a funny topic.

I support the Swiss court's decision... and even though I liked Noemon's quotation, I would phrase it somewhat differently... One's freedom of religion does not mean that you have the right to redefine societal norms. If you wanted to, say, have your male 9 year old show up and wear a tee shirt while swimming, or your female kid to wear a more covering bathing suit... that's fine. But to entirely restructure everything is just too much.

The handshake thing kills me, though, because we have Liberal Swedish politicians and Swiss school kids getting yelled at for not shaking hands with women... I figured, if anything, that liberals would be able to take this and conservative Europeans, if they had any sense of religion left in them, could respect some hyper-modesty but IDK... Liberals in Europe seem too feminist; conservatives in Europe are even further divorced from whatever religious heritage they had. It's odd to me.
#14766082
Coincidentally I had recently heard of the issue of gender segregation arising on university campuses as well . The Worker Communist , Maryam Namazie debated an Islamist woman on the matter https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2d25-rXuJyo . I personally feel that all public venues must be co-ed , but that private organizations , such as a place of worship may set their own standard , however unequal .
#14766109
I think that Deutchmania is just about right on this. I believe that religious organizations should be allowed to structure their religious observances pretty much as they wish provided that they do not harm their members. (As the host country's laws define harm.) But at their own events/venues. Once they enter the public arena there should be a reasonable effort to accommodate them but not an extraordinary effort. And certainly not at public expense.

Going further. One assumes that a culture is free to establish norms of human rights that we deem important enough to enforce in our schools. The marginalization of girls is certainly a bridge to far.
#14766116
I think they're lucky to have swimming lessons. We did, for one year, I think at age 10. It meant bussing us to a public pool. To split the girls from the boys would be an expense that no one wanted to bare.

If these parents want their girls to be taught separately, then they should find a private qualified teacher with a private pool, and, since they can afford lawyers, pick up the bill themselves, instead of wasting the courts time and the public's money.
#14766125
If these parents want their girls to be taught separately, then they should find a private qualified teacher with a private pool, and, since they can afford lawyers, pick up the bill themselves, instead of wasting the courts time and the public's money.


This is a good point too. Most parents have something outside of school for which they must pay. They could easily organize an appropriate substitute at the local Mosque.

I would point out that it is against the law to bring a Bible into Saudi Arabia. I can't think of a single Muslim majority nation that we would consider even nominally secular. (Yes including Turkey.) People leaving their homeland and moving to another country should be prepared to integrate as much as is possible. I am getting very tired of ingrates.
#14766170
Thank you

At the end of the day, when it becomes a rights vs rights issue, there is a chance that the decision will be at least partially arbitrary.

In our case, swimming was considered part of the cariculum, and I don't remember having to have my parents pay for it. This means all taxpayers pay for it. Now, we've both written on PoFo enough to know each other's thinking, but for the benefit of other, yes, I am a socialist, but I want a return on it. Teaching kids to swim is smart here in my seaside/lakeside home town, but if schools are struggling to keep libraries, art, music programmes etc alive, it annoys me no end to see this kind of blatent fiscal waste.
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