Civil rights organization encourages broader dialogue on creating a welcoming environment at public pools, other spaces
(BALTIMORE, MD, 7/16/18) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed an apology from Mayor Mike Purzycki of the City of Wilmington, Del., after elementary school-aged Muslim swimmers were asked to leave the Foster Brown Public Pool.
SEE: Muslim Swimmers Asked to Leave Wilmington Public Pool; Mayor Apologizes
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki’s full response to Muslim children being asked to leave public pool
The young swimmers were first told to leave the pool due to “safety concerns” about their swimming attire — consisting of cotton shirts, shorts and hijabs — then told to exit because the pool was “overcrowded.”
In a statement, Mayor Purzycki said:
“We should be held accountable for what happened and how poorly we assessed this incident. I apologize to the children who were directed to leave a city pool because of the religious-required clothing they were wearing. We also referred to vaguely-worded pool policies to assess and then justify our poor judgement, and that was also wrong.”
He also expressed a desire to meet with the Muslim camp director and the children asked to leave the pool, so he may “address their concerns and offer a personal apology.” He affirmed his commitment to making sure that everyone is permitted to use city pools.
“All Americans are entitled to reasonable religious accommodations while using public facilities, and it is unlawful to discriminate against members of any group because of their religious attire,” said CAIR spokeswoman Zainab Chaudry. “While the safety concerns may have been legitimate, this situation should have been handled in a more tactful manner. We thank Mayor Purzycki for publicly apologizing and seeking to meet with the camp director and Muslim children to personally listen to their concerns. We also welcome his commitment to ensuring that no swimmers in his city are barred from access to public pools because of their faith.”
The Washington-based organization’s recently-released 2018 Civil Rights Report, “Targeted,” showed a 17 percent increase in bias-motivated incidents against American Muslims from 2016 to 2017, and a 15 percent increase in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes in that same time period.
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Community members are being urged to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/report
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry, email@example.com, 410-971-6062