Swiss authorities recently denied citizenship to a pair of Muslim sisters, 12 and 14, who refused to take part in their school’s swimming lessons alongside boys of their age group in the city of Basel. According to USA Today, the girls had applied for citizenship a few months ago, but their request was denied this week.
This week’s kerfuffle also highlights a broader European concern: What happens when Muslims go to swimming pools. On Thursday, the Austrian town of Hainfeld voted to ban “burqinis” — Islamic swimwear that covers the body from head to toe — from being worn in local pools. The move was put forward by a councilor from the far-right Freedom Party, which has grandstanded over the threat posed by an influx of asylum seekers from Muslim-majority countries.