European Court rules in favor of mandatory mixed-gender swimming lessons

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of a requirement in Switzerland that Muslim girls attend compulsory mixed-gender swimming lessons.  

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of Switzerland in a case in which the parents of two Muslim Swiss girls sought redress for being required to have their daughters attend compulsory educational mixed-gender swimming lessons in the city of Basel.

The parents of the girls took their case to the European Court of Human Rights after they were ordered to pay a total of 1,400 Swiss Francs ($1,380, £1,136) “for acting in breach of their parental duty.”

Individuals or states like Switzerland, that are party to the European Convention on Human Rights may seek redresses from the European Court of Human Rights regarding alleged violations of their civil and political rights.

The parents claimed that the financial penalty violated their rights in article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which says that “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

In its ruling, the court acknowledged that the requirement to attend mixed-gender swimming lessons was an infringement on freedom of religion but justified the law by finding that it was crafted in order to “protect foreign pupils from any form of social exclusion.”

“Accordingly, the children’s interest in a full education, thus facilitating their successful social integration according to local customs and mores, prevailed over the parents’ wish to have their children exempted from mixed swimming lessons,” the court added.

The second part of Article 9 in the European Convention of Human Rights specifies instances that justify restrictions on freedom of religion. The article adds that “freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News