A German court ruled on Wednesday that Muslim girls must take part in school swimming lessons with boys, in a landmark decision that touches on the sensitive relationship between religion and the state.
The court said Muslim schoolgirls could not be exempted from swimming lessons, provided they were allowed to wear so-called 'burkinis', full-body swimsuits worn by many Muslim women which leave only the face, hands and feet exposed.
The plaintiff was a Muslim girl, originally from Morocco, who goes to school in the western state of Hesse. Her parents have tried for several years to stop her from joining swimming lessons with boys. She was 11 years old when the case started.
"The plaintiff has not made sufficiently clear that ... taking part in co-educational swimming lessons with a burkini breaches Muslim rules on clothing," said the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, rejecting her appeal.
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