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March 17, 2018
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Some Czech Internet users outraged by photos of Muslim women swimming in burkinis, facility says no rules were broken

11.7.2017 6:37
In July 2017 the photographed presence of two Muslim women wearing burkinis to a Czech swimming pool sparked outrage among Czech Internet users. (PHOTO:  Facebook, collage
In July 2017 the photographed presence of two Muslim women wearing burkinis to a Czech swimming pool sparked outrage among Czech Internet users. (PHOTO: Facebook, collage

The Čestlice Aquapalace in the Czech Republic has become the target of online criticism after photographs were circulated online of two Muslim women swimming there in burkinis. The management team has responded unequivocally to the obscene, racist and vulgar invective targeting the women and their children by issuing a statement confirming the women broke no rules by wearing the swimwear.

"Dear Customers, the hygiene and safety of our visitors are a priority for us and always will be. Swimming while wearing any kind of outdoor clothing is strictly banned by our House Rules. Should our visitors encounter something of the sort, they can contact our staff, who will arrange for the situation to be corrected. Lifeguards regularly visually monitor any clothing that is dubious. All visitors must uphold the same principles of hygiene. However, innovations in recent years particularly involve bathing t-shirts or burkinis, i.e., swimwear that covers most of the body. Some models of such swimwear also cover the head, like the kind that can be seen on the photographs taken. This clothing is produced from materials appropriate for swimming. This is a global trend and those of us at Aquapalace Praha are not the only ones to encounter it. These customers have not broken any rules," reads the company's statement on its Facebook profile.

The presence of the Muslim women in the swimming pool was reported by an anonymous Facebook user with the nickname Izzy Cloud. The user uploaded photographs of the women swimming with their children to the social networking site, adding a comment calling the situation "disgusting" and alleging that it posed a danger of infection or "launching" some kind of trend.

The photographs then began to be reviewed by other Facebook users and shared with explicitly racist, vulgar comments on the Facebook profile of the aquapark. The predominant response from other Czech-language Internet users has expressed support for the aquapark management and mocked the hateful, limited perspective of those claiming to be outraged.

Jitka Votavová, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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