Flere kommuner over hele Storbritannia har egne svømmetimer for muslimer. De er kjønnssegregerte, og stiller krav om tildekking for både menn og kvinner. Det som har opprørt mange er at også ikke-muslimer må tildekke seg fra navlen og til kneet for menn, og fra hals til ankel for kvinner.

Flere kritikere reagerer og sier denne frivillige apartheid og tvangspåkledning i offentlige bad har svært dårlig effekt på forholdet mellom folkegruppene. Det virker også som en tvangstrøye på muslimer som ikke har noe problem enten å gå i vanlige badedrakter selv eller at andre gjør det.

But across the UK municipal pools are holding swimming sessions specifically aimed at Muslims, in some case imposing strict dress codes.

Croydon council in south London runs separate one-and-a half-hour swimming sessions for Muslim men and women every Saturday and Sunday at Thornton Heath Leisure Centre.

Swimmers were told last week on the centre’s website that «during special Muslim sessions male costumes must cover the body from the navel to the knee and females must be covered from the neck to the ankles and wrists».

There are similar rules at Scunthorpe Leisure Centre, in North Lincolnshire, where «users must follow the required dress code for this session (T-shirts and shorts/leggings that cover below the knee)».

In Glasgow, a men-only swimming session is organised by a local mosque group at North Woodside Leisure Centre, at which swimmers must be covered from navel to knee.

At a women-only class organised by a Muslim teacher at Blackbird Leys Swimming Pool, Oxford, to encourage Muslim women to learn to swim, most participants wear «modest» outfits although normal costumes are permitted.

The dress codes have provoked an angry reaction among critics who say they encourage division and resentment between Muslims and non-Muslims, putting strain on social cohesion.

Mange reagerer på at Storbritannia bøyer seg for de mest ortodokse og fundamentalistiske reglene.

Ian Cawsey, the Labour MP for the North Lincolnshire constituency of Brigg and Goole, said: «Of course swimming pools have basic codes of dress but it should not go beyond that.

«I don’t think that in a local authority pool I should have to wear a particular type of clothes for the benefit of someone else. That’s not integration or cohesion.»

Labour MP Anne Cryer, whose Keighley, West Yorkshire constituency has a large number of Muslims, said: «Unfortunately this kind of thing has a negative impact on community relations.

«It’s seen as yet another demand for special treatment. I can’t see why special clothing is needed for what is a single-sex session.»

Muslim swimming sessions are also held at a number of state schools around the country. At Loxford School in Ilford, east London, a local Muslim group organises weekly sessions for Muslim men, with the warning that «it is compulsory for the body to be covered between the navel and the knees.

«Anyone not adhering to the dress code or rules within the pool will not be allowed to swim».

The practice of holding special Muslim swimming sessions has led to non-Muslims being turned away.

Douglas Murray, director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, last night condemned the practice. He said: «This kind of thing is extremely divisive.

«Non-Muslims see these extremist demands as an example of Muslims wanting things to fit into their lifestyle, when there aren’t similar things organised for Hindus, Buddhists or Jews.

«It also puts moderate Muslims in an awkward position as it suggests, wrongly, that they are not devout enough, simply because they choose not to cover themselves in a shroud in a pool.»

Swimmers are told to wear burkinis

British swimming pools are imposing Muslim dress codes in a move described as divisive by Labour MPs.