Saturday, July 7, 2012

Muslim-only swim time at San Diego YMCA, no one really cares

I see the apathy is at full steam in the land of eternal sunshine.  Muslim women are now free to mingle with other Muslim women for swim time at their local YMCA, but not with anyone else.  I wonder how the YMCA would handle a request by Catholic women to have their own swim time based in their religious beliefs.  Betcha it would fly past the shallow end.  This is not assimilation into American culture, this is distancing from it in order to maintain a distinct and separate culture.  The great melting pot has become a salad bowl where the ingredients mix but do not blend.  Muslims are at the forefront of this separation in order to maintain an air of mystery, and to protect their own against any outside influence.  The dangers of this behavior are obvious, yet no one in power seems to care.

From KPBS June 26 by Megan Burks

YMCA Offers Women-Only Swim Hours For Muslim Women
Each Saturday, staff at the Copley YMCA in City Heights begin clearing out the pool and locker rooms early. They send their male lifeguards home and a female lifeguard and swim instructor clock on for a special after-hours lesson.

About 15 East African women and girls then file through the back doors for a women-only swim class. The YMCA began offering it this spring after moms and daughters in a group called City Heights Hope told the directors they can’t swim in front of men because they’re Muslim.

“We came here and I was just looking at the water and I was like, ‘Wow, I wish one day we could come and swim here,’” said Miriam Adam, 14.

Adam, whose parents emigrated from Eritrea, said she and the other group members initially asked the YMCA to include women-only services at its new facility, which isn’t scheduled to open until 2014. But the directors said they could start swim classes as quickly as the women could sign up. The class roster was full a month later.

For many of the women and girls, this is the first opportunity they’ve had to learn how to swim. The young girls are outfitted with arm floaties and taught to blow bubbles, while their older sisters and moms grasp Styrofoam barbells and cling to the walls to practice kicking.

“Kids I’ve never seen will walk in and know their way around the pool right away, whereas everybody that comes in will be like, ‘Can we do this? Can we do that? Can I do it already? Can I get in? Can I get in? Can we start the lesson now?’” said YMCA lifeguard Nicole Velasco. “So it’s a lot of fun to see that they really wanted to learn, too, not just get in and splash around.”

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