Muslim Mom Denied Entry to Pool Because of Her Modest Swimming Attire

When Muslim mother Sabah Ali went swimming with her family at the Commerce City, Colorado, Recreation Center recently, she never imagined she would be prevented from entering the pool because of her modest dress.

Pool employees told her that she could only swim in approved swim attire. This upset Ali and her family as her religion demands she wear very modest clothing in the presence of other men.

"Why do I have to be half naked to swim? To enjoy my time with my kids?" Ali asked in an interview with ABC. "I want to have the same rights as every citizen."

Ali was wearing what she termed an "Islamic" dress over a shirt and pants. She offered to take off the dress and simply swim in her plain clothes. Her offer was refused, and employees cited sanitary issues with swimming in plain clothes.


How mortifying for this woman this experience must have been. As a modest woman myself, I'm always a little embarrassed going to the swimming pool, but I've recently overcome that in order to enjoy the time with my children. And this is just what this woman was doing, trying to enjoy time in a pool with her family. 

Let's be honest. Whether or not there is a "no street clothes" rule at the pool, some common sense must surely prevail. Obviously, this is a religious issue, and someone should have at least talked to someone before she was denied. I can't believe the words "Before this gets out on Facebook" were never uttered.

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This is not the first time a Muslim woman has been prevented from swimming in a public place. A lawsuit was filed in Chicago in 2010 when a Muslim family was denied entry to a public pool. According to the complaint, "A park manager first stopped the mother because of her long dress and headscarf." When the mother agreed to leave so the rest of her family could enter, the father and young children were prevented from entering because park officials said their swimming trunks were not made of the right material. Friends and family who did not wear the headscarf later entered the same water park fully clothed in regular attire without problems.

In defense of the Commerce City Recreation Center, they did explain that they frequently deny anyone who is wearing street clothes, cut-off jeans, or full-length body suits. But one wonders (OK, I wonder) if a mother and her children came into the pool area wearing Christian-oriented modesty swimwear if they would be denied entry.

The city is reportedly looking into revising their attire regulations for swimming pools. A call to the city was not immediately returned.

What do you think? Should this mother have been denied entry into a public pool for expressing her religious beliefs through her clothing? 


Image via The Denver Channel

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