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Split picture: a swimming pool with the sign "Sim skola" (swimming school) + a woman in a burkini on a beach
A public swimming pool in southeastern Sweden will stop renting out burkinis, the modest swimsuit worn by the woman in the picture on the left, from a beach in France. Credit: Fredrik Sandberg/TT and AP
(2:34 min)

Swedish town halts burkini rentals

Published tisdag 13 mars kl 10.00

The Mjölby council in southeastern Sweden has decided to stop renting out so-called "burkinis" at public swimming pools.

Most public swimming pools in Sweden rent out swimming costumes to visitors, but whether that service should include so-called burkinis – women's swimming costumes that cover the arms, legs and hair and that are worn by observant Muslim women – has been hotly debated.

Mjölby, a small municipality half-way between Stockholm and Gothenburg, has been at the centre of that debate, but next week the local council is expected to take a formal decision to stop renting out burkinis.

"We know that girls who live in honour cultures risk being limited in their lives, and the decision not to provide burkinis is a small but symbolic measure against those limitations," said Anneli Sjöstrand, deputy chairperson of Mjölby's Culture and Leisure Committee and a member of the Centre Party.

Visitors will still be allowed to bring and use their own burkinis, but as of August 1st, Mjölby's publicly-funded swimming pool will likely no longer provide them. 

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