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City reverses policy on rule used to exclude Muslim swimmers

July 15, 2018

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — The mayor of Delaware’s biggest city is apologizing after Muslim children were asked to stay out of a municipal pool because of their clothing.

In a statement issued Saturday night, Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki said the city was wrong to use a vaguely-worded policy to bar Muslim kids wearing cotton shirts, shorts and headscarves from the city’s Foster Brown pool.

City officials had justified the kids’ exclusion based on a rule against wearing cotton in the pools. City officials defended the rule by saying cotton poses a safety risk and strains the pool’s filtration system.

But Tahsiyn Ismaa’eel, who ran a summer Arabic program and brought Muslim campers to the pool, said the rule about cotton wasn’t posted and was being enforced in a discriminatory way against her kids.

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