‘What next, curtains around Bondi Beach?’ Mark Latham slams Sydney council for putting screens around a public pool for Muslim women to swim in private.
UK Daily Mail Media personality Mark Latham says putting up curtains at a Sydney public swimming pool to cater for Muslim women is a step towards putting drapes around section of Bondi Beach – as an Islamic sheikh likened it to imposing sharia law in Australia’s suburbs.
The council-run Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre in the city’s west has installed a retractable curtain around one of its three pools so women can swim privately during two set time slots on Wednesdays, infuriating many residents who said it was like ‘segregation’.
However Mr Latham, a former federal Labor leader, said it set an awful precedent and undermined Australia’s egalitarian values about people from all different backgrounds mixing together. ‘Where does it end? What’s the next step? Down at Bondi Beach, we’re going to have some curtained-off area, or something, it’s just ridiculous,’ he told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.
While Mr Latham supported the right of Muslim women to swim in a burkini, he said councils were bowing to left-wing demands to protect minority groups instead of encouraging individuals to come to terms with their modesty issues.
There are even critics within the Muslim community, with Adelaide Shia imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi likening the swimming pool policy to sharia law. ‘It is part of sharia law that a strange man must not see the body of another woman, therefore they are installing the curtains,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
Sheikh Tawhidi said religious Muslims should build ‘Muslim-only swimming pools for themselves’ rather than have their laws imposed on non-Muslims.
‘Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre is not an Islamic swimming pool, therefore they should not be accepting of such an idea in the first place,’ he said.