“I spoke to a staff member and she told me that it’s because of Muslim women, that we’re not allowed to look at them or whatever,” 38-year-old Chris said Friday (he declined to give a last name). “I don’t think religion has a role to play in a public pool.”
The single father knew when he signed his daughter up for the 9-week course at the community center that it was a female class, but didn’t realize the gender segregation also reached the stands, apparently.
“She doesn’t have a lot of friends and I wanted her to swim with girls. I don’t know what parent wouldn’t want to watch their child participate,” he said, adding: “There were other fathers there who weren’t too happy.”
The Toronto Sun reached out to Local Councillor John Parker, who hadn’t heard of this specific case but called the complaint “legitimate,” adding that it raises a “fair issue.”
“We have to decide and we have to determine just what are the options that are available to us and how many hours are there in the day to allow the different options that communities want,” Parker said. “So far the pressure has been to provide hours for women only, this gives rise to the legitimate question: ought we to find time for mixed groups precisely to accommodate the concern that this parent has raised.”