Vienna has become a very culturally enriched city. Earlier today Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff experienced yet another example of the new enriched Viennese urban environment.
Burkini vs. Hijab
by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff
The weather has been hot lately in Vienna, and no one here has air conditioning, so I’ve been spending quite a bit of time at the public swimming pool. I was there with a friend today, and as we were leaving, we saw a woman wearing black hijab, a black shirt and black pants playing with her child in the pool.
Now, the rules at this pool are strict: no street clothes in the pools. But no, she was in the pool. Wearing her culturally enriched street clothes.
So my friend and I complained. The (non-Muslim) lifeguards sympathized with us, but said they were bound by the decision made by their boss. He had ruled the clothes a “burkini”, which it most decidedly was not.
Other (non-Muslims) agreed with our objection, notably my neighbor, who threatened to call the authorities to complain. “In Jordan I had to dress according to the customs. These women must do this here as well. I do not want a condom-clad lady in the pool!”
Apart form the Islamic aspect of this incident, there is also the hygienic aspect. I am not allowed to swim in shirt and shorts. Why should this Muslim lady be allowed to swim in street clothes?
Later, as we left the pool area to go to the car, we were verbally attacked by two cashiers, a man and a woman, who accused my friend and me of “racism”. “I am a Muslim, my mother wears those clothes, and I know that this is a burkini, and you do not.”
I replied that I knew what a burkini looked like, and that the woman’s clothes were definitely not a burkini, but street clothes. Again, the “racism” charge
One of guests at the pool remarked to my friend: “Next time I’ll bring along my dog, because the dog is much cleaner…”
What scares me even more is the divide: one the one hand you have the seemingly integrated and non-hijabbed Muslims who will side with their kind no matter what. And on the other hand, there is the “old” population, which knows exactly what is going on, but dares not do anything out of fear.