While I’m sure some Islamophobes will see this as another sign of encroaching ‘dhimmitude’, I think this story, reported by Italian news agency AKI, to be an interesting step. It reports about a swimming pool in Italy that reserves special times for Muslim women, banning men. The pool is owned by a Catholic church diocese, thus is private. It has no policy implications beyond the church policy of encouraging ecumenism. It has the additional positive aspect of introducing Muslim women-many of whom have no experience with swimming-to a sport and, for some, new job possibilities.
Bergamo, 30 April (AKI) – Muslim women in the northern Italian province of Bergamo now have private access to a local swimming pool where they can swim freely without traditional clothing. Men are not permitted to swim at the Siloe pool when the women remove their veils, or burquas, at designated times each week, according to the Italian daily, Corriere della Sera.
Maida Ziaradi, an Iranian who has lived in Italy for 17 years spearheaded the move and said many Muslim women from Tunisia, Morocco, Iran and Egypt as well as Italians can take advantage of it.
The pool is owned by the diocese of Bergamo and the arrangement with the Muslim women is seen as a form of ecumenical respect for the Koran.