Muslim Kids Asked To Leave Public Pool In Delaware

Contributed by BreAnna Bell

Several muslim elementary school kids were asked to leave the Forest Brown public pool in Wilmington, Delaware last week in what their teacher, Tahsiyn A. Ismaa’eel, described as a blatant case of discrimination.

Ismaa’eel teaches a summer Arabic enrichment program and has taken her kids to the pool everyday for the last four years, however this year, she says it’s the first time the kids were turned away due to a clothing rule. The children were wearing cotton shirts; shorts; and hijabs, or headscarves.

The pool manager allegedly said it’s against city policy to wear cotton in public pools.  However, if it is a rule, Ismaa’eel says it’s never been enforced.

“There’s nothing posted that says you can’t swim in cotton,” Ismaa’eel, owner and principal of the Darul-Amaanah Academy and director of its summer program told Delaware Online. “At the same time, there are other kids with cotton on. … I asked, ‘Why are my kids being treated differently?'”

She thought it was strange that it was only her kids being asked to leave because of a new cotton rule and not any of the kids from other camps wearing cotton who had been there much longer than her young children.

Ismaa’eel continued, “We were approached first about the cotton, and then it became, ‘Oh, the pool is overcapacity so you need to leave.’ … I felt very unwanted.”

Initially, Delaware Mayor Mike Purzycki refused interviews. City officials claimed the cotton rule was a safety issue.

“There are city rules and regulations designed to ensure the safety of those who use the pools,” John Rago, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff for policy and communication said. “One of the rules requires that all swimmers wear proper swimming attire.”

According to HuffPost, in a follow-up statement reversing the original comments from city officials, Delaware Mayor Mike Purzycki said that city officials at the Foster Brown public pool “used poor judgment” in response to the students’ religious clothing requirements.

WHUR Contributor

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