Swimmers were told last week on the centre’s website that “during special Muslim sessions male costumes must cover the body from the navel to the knee and females must be covered from the neck to the ankles and wrists”.
There are similar rules at Scunthorpe Leisure Centre, in North Lincolnshire, where “users must follow the required dress code for this session (T-shirts and shorts/leggings that cover below the knee)”.
In Glasgow, a men-only swimming session is organised by a local mosque group at North Woodside Leisure Centre, at which swimmers must be covered from navel to knee.
At a women-only class organised by a Muslim teacher at Blackbird Leys Swimming Pool, Oxford, to encourage Muslim women to learn to swim, most participants wear “modest” outfits although normal costumes are permitted.
The dress codes have provoked an angry reaction among critics who say they encourage division and resentment between Muslims and non-Muslims, putting strain on social cohesion.