From The DailyMail U.K.
Swimmers plunged into dark after council covers swimming pool windows ‘to protect Muslim women’s modesty’
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:04 PM on 5th July 2010
A council has sparked anger after officials blacked out windows on a glass-panelled swimming pool to protect the modesty of Muslim women.
Darlaston Leisure Centre in the West Midlands’ town of Walsall, was hailed for its ‘ultra-modern’ design when it opened ten years ago.
But now council staff have covered 250 windows with dark-tinted film following complaints from Muslim swimmers.
But other users say the move has plunged the pool into almost permanent darkness and branded it ‘political correctness gone stark-raving mad’.
Pauline Poole, 65, a retired legal secretary from Walsall, said: ‘I returned to swimming after having a cataracts operation some months ago and was looking forward to looking out on some lovely trees while swimming.
‘What I found was a situation that reminded me of how it felt like before my operation, like looking at a horrible cloudy view.
‘If it was done for a minority of people, then why was there no vote on it?’
Retired building surveyor John Ewart, 63, from Walsall, added: ‘I cannot believe this council has agreed to something so loony.
‘The whole thing smacks of political correctness gone stark raving mad.
‘A lot of the people who swim are elderly or retired and they now have to swim in the gloom.’
A worker at the pool, who did not want to be named, said: ‘The windows were covered up and it’s probably cost a few hundred pounds.
‘Several customers complained it made the pool dark and dingy but we didn’t have a choice.’
The council initially refused to replace the windows with frosted glass because it was too expensive.
Today, the council defended the decision, saying they had ‘listened to the concerns of users’.
Councillor Anthony Harris said: ‘I’m pleased that we’ve been able to make these modifications because not only does it show we’re listening to the views and concerns of our users but also because it enhances the privacy of swimmers.’
A spokeswoman for Walsall Council said the complaints had predominantly come from the Muslim community but that non-Muslim women had also objected.
She said: ‘We received a request from the Muslim Community to protect the modesty of swimmers.