German Town Bans Male Refugees from Swimming Pool Reverses Course

Taroudante – A public indoor swimming pool in Bornheim, western Germany, which had reportedly banned adult, male asylum seekers from entering the pool, after receiving complaints that women have been sexually harassed, has decided to reopen the pool.In the wake of the sexual assaults on women by young male immigrants during the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne, Germany, a public swimming pool in Bornheim had closed its doors to refugees, after claims of sexual harassment.According to the town’s Deputy Mayor, Markus Schnapka, the “difficult decision” was made to send adult immigrants and asylum seekers a clear message that “breaching German cultural norms was crossing a red line.” “There have been complaints of sexual harassment and “chatting-up” [of women] at this swimming pool … by groups of young men, and this has prompted some women to leave [the premises],” he said.“This led to my decision that adult males from our asylum shelters could not enter the swimming pool until further notice,” he added.Commenting on the incident, Claudia Hoepfner, a user of the swimming pool, was quoted by Russia Today as saying, “For me it is almost impossible to understand because I think that everyone should have the chance to enjoy their free time, especially after fleeing their country, where they had problems.”Another pool customer said, “If they behave badly then they have to accept the consequences. But I haven’t seen anything and I don’t know anything [related to it].”The German town received international criticism over its decision, with social media users describing the decision as “racist.”Under harsh criticism, the local authority which runs the pool has now said that the pool will re-open for everybody on Thursday January 21, with the hope that “there will be no more sexual harassment.”As an alternative to the ban, the swimming pool will display poster with drawings unacceptable behaviors and practices inside pools. read more