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Durban - A German court ruling that a 12-year-old Muslim girl would have to put up with the sight of bare-chested boys during her swimming classes, even though it was against her religious beliefs, has been slammed by local Muslim leaders.

The ruling, made by an administrative court in Kassel, western Germany, rejected the pupil’s application to skip swimming classes because she felt uncomfortable being so close to bare-chested boys.

Her lawyer argued that according to the Qu’ranic teaching she was not only forbidden from showing herself to boys but also from seeing the topless boys.

The court rejected the application and ruled she would have to wear the burkini, like many of her peers and put up with her peers as mixed swimming classes were the norm in Germany.

Faisal Suleman, of the South African Muslim Network, said this was a poor example of fostering mutual tolerance and respect.

“While there needs to be a balance between religious tolerance and the need to integrate society, one should not be at the expense of the other.

“The court ruling that she should wear a burkini is one issue, but how does it solve the problem of her being exposed to bare-chested boys which makes her uncomfortable.”

Moulana Abdullah Khan, from the Jamiat-ul-Ulama, said the ruling was an infringment of the pupil’s rights.

Moulana Shaykh Faheem from Islamic Lifestyle Solution said this was a poor example of religious tolerance.

“There’s an example of a 12-year-old who is being forced to do something against her will.

“It seems that in this case there was no consideration at all for the teaching of Islam and they are merely jumping on the bandwagon because of all the negative press about Islam,” said the Moulana - POST