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Austria's Got A New Reason To Ban Burkinis

Photo: Unsplash.
A woman has been banned from wearing a burkini in an Austrian swimming pool because staff claimed it breached "hygiene and safety" rules.

The woman, a 23-year-old Muslim student, was called to the poolside while she was swimming in the Stadthallenbad indoor pool in Vienna.

Sports centre staff then reportedly told her to leave the pool for "hygiene reasons", according to Kronen Zeitung. They said their decision wasn't related to the woman's religion.

The woman said she phoned the pool in advance to check whether burkinis were permitted and the receptionist confirmed they were, reported The Local.

Despite this, the pool staff told the woman and her friend, who was also wearing a burkini, to leave.

The pool's management team said that, according to their rules, all swimwear must be made from "appropriate fabric", and that one of the burkinis, which they said was made of cotton, was unsuitable, The Local reported.

Manfred Faly, a spokesman for the pool, said swimwear must be "water-repellent and fast-drying", but that burkinis were generally allowed.

He said: "Burkinis are basically accepted, as long as they comply with health and safety rules and hygienic standards. Of importance here is the fabric of the burkini which should be water repellent and fast-drying. These are rules that apply to all bathers," The Local reported.

Cotton swimwear is banned in many public pools because there is a greater chance it has been worn outside, and may therefore contaminate the water with dirt and bacteria. Cotton is also more likely to clog up pool filters.

However, the woman said her burkini wasn't made from cotton and that she believes the pool's decision to ask her to leave was racist. She has reportedly formally complained at the Austrian Islamic Community and the Anti-Racism Advisory Board ZARA.

She added that her friends and supporters will soon protest outside the pool by wearing burkinis.