Muslim takes sauna in hijab
A MUSLIM woman in full hijab robes was allowed to swelter in a SAUNA because worried staff did not want to offend her. She then jumped into the sports centre’s swimming pool to cool off while still wearing the black top-to-toe Islamic dress.
Staff did not know if they should enforce a dress code which asks customers to wear SUITABLE clothes. People in the sauna — all wearing normal swimming cossies — were amazed as the woman joined them in the steam room in her robes.
After ten minutes in the sauna and ten minutes in the pool the mystery woman changed out of her wet hijab into a dry one in the changing rooms and left alone.
Yesterday members of the David Lloyd Leisure centre in Oxford said they were baffled by the women’s actions.
Club member Ian Caldwell, 46, was sitting in the sauna when the fully-dressed woman walked in. “The pool attendant said she was allowed to wear this due to her religious customs. It was just political correctness gone completely barmy. I told the manager that it was my custom to attend saunas naked, as they do in Sweden, and said I trusted he would find that equally acceptable. But to be serious, this is a question of hygiene, not religious rights.”
Last night surprised Muslim spokesman Taj Hargey (chairman of the Muslim Educational Centre in Oxford) asked: “How can you swim properly if you wear a hijab? . . . People should have appropriate swimwear when they come to a leisure centre. It is basic common sense.” He added the incident demonstrated a problem among some Muslim women in Britain. He said: “They think this is their way of making a statement, but this is the worst possible statement. They are shooting themselves in the foot.”
Centre manager Liam MacGilp said all pool and sauna attendants had now been briefed on the company’s policy, and that robed or outdoor garments would not be allowed in future.
Update, I remember now posting this last summer about a range by Hasema of Islamic swimming and other sports suits. This is what they recommend for the sauna, or perhaps it is the sauna itself.
Posted on 03/14/2007 10:35 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax