Fellow Dearborn Undergound resister Darby Shaw contributes the following regarding this September 4, 2006 Detroit Free Press article, “Washtenaw County’s change helps women to take plunge”:
Free Press writer Niraj Warikoo's story appears to be another propaganda piece designed to manipulate readers into believing our community discriminates against individuals on the basis of their religion. Looking at the face of this 14 year old Muslim girl and hearing of her predicament is designed to distract us from a haunting and familiar truth. Muslim leaders using sleight of hand have replaced another American law with Islamic or Shari’a law. These leaders tell Ms. Warikoo that this is another example of Islam shaping the culture of Southeastern Michigan.
The facts are clear and this girl was not discriminated against. She chose to wear hijab to a public pool. Her religion might require this, but the choice to follow the religion belongs to her. The language Warikoo uses reveals a victory for Islam and defeat of reason. The article makes it sound as if the girl was denied a fun pool day by a pool supervisor (lifeguard?) who “admonished” her by “barking”, “’Hey you Come here! You can’t swim in that.’” The girl says she felt humiliated and disappointed. But, is the lifeguard to blame? We should consider her attempt to juggle 1) her desire for fun 2) public pool rules and 3) Obeying 1400 year old dictates of the Prophet Mohammad. Her feelings are now very understandable and so is the source.
Let me suggest a different interpretation of the pool supervisor’s words. Perhaps his phrase should be taken literally. “You can’t swim in that!” might mean it is dangerous to wear long pants, shirt, and head scarf while under water because they will keep you from being able to swim.
The laws of physics don’t discriminate; the greater the mass, the greater the force – weighted objects are characteristically less buoyant – unless buoyed by the ACLU. These are laws that are absolute and not compelled to change according to the whims of the ACLU. Taking a plunge into water while wearing several yards of any material (no matter how light weight) is a life threatening impairment. The regulations also prohibited street clothes; ensuring swimmers water unpolluted by dirty garments.
Islamic law forbids a female to be touched by a male. Washtenaw County is now obligated to offer same sex swimming for all Muslims who cannot be touched by the opposite sex. Should male lifeguards avoid saving females with Islamic dress? What if a lifeguard is homosexual? Would this be an exemption? How would they perform CPR if necessary to revive someone? What would Muhammad do?
According to Ms. Warikoo “Islam encourages women and men to learn to swim, say local Muslims. Their prophet, Muhammad, urged followers to be able to swim in case of emergencies.” This is difficult to interpret and the source is not provided. I don’t see anything in my copy of the Quran regarding swim safety in the 7th century Middle East.
As I stated above, the truth is haunting. What began in our area 15 years ago as a multicultural phenomenon now appears to be a religion, intent on shaping our way of life to fit its laws. It looks much more like a political agenda to supersede American law with Shari’a law.