Muslim girls denied Swiss citizenship for refusing to swim with boys

Swiss authorities have rejected the naturalization application of two Muslim girls who refused to take school swimming lessons because boys were present, a media report said.
Muslim girls denied Swiss citizenship for refusing to swim with boys
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Swiss authorities have rejected the naturalization application of two Muslim girls who refused to take school swimming lessons because boys were present, a media report said.

According to USA Today, the girls, aged 12 and 14, who live in the northern city of Basel, had applied for Swiss citizenship several months ago, but their request was denied. 

The report said that the girls, who names were witheld, said their religion prevents them from participating in compulsory swimming lessons with males in the pool at the same time. 

"Their naturalization application was rejected because the sisters did not comply with the school curriculum," the report quoted Basel authorities as saying. 

"Whoever doesn't fulfill these conditions violates the law and therefore cannot be naturalized," Stefan Wehrle, president of the naturalization committee, was quoted as saying by TV station SRF. 

The report said that this is not the first time Switzerland's Muslim community has stirred controversy over swimming lessons. 

"In 2012, a family was fined $1,500 for forbidding their daughters to participate in swimming classes," it added. 

The USA Today further reported that in another incident which sparked widespread outrage in Switzerland when two Muslim brothers refused to shake hands with their female teacher, also citing religious restrictions. 

After that incident was widely publicized, authorities suspended the naturalization request from the boys' father, an imam at the Basel mosque, it added.

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