ACLU Files Swim Suit

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Muslim woman who claims she was told that she had to remove her religious garb to accompany her children through the gate of an Omaha swimming pool.

Twice last summer, Lubna Hussein says she was turned away from Deer Ridge pool, her children in tears, because the city said she had to wear a swimsuit.

Lubna says, "I'm a Muslim and I must wear a scarf and long sleeves. No dress. I have to wear like a nun.

Her daughter Basma Hussein says, "The pool we were going to had slides and it looked very fun. And they wouldn't let my mom in because she had the scarf on. I felt sad and I felt that wasn't fair for my mom and me."

Lubna Hussein says she tried to explain she didn't intend to swim, just watch her children inside the fence.

She says, "They told me I can watch the kids outside the fence. I felt humiliated."

Hussein's attorney and the Nebraska chapter of the ACLU contend that Hussein's rights were violated.

City officials say they hope the lawsuit will be dropped because exceptions have since been made to the swimsuit only policy.

City Attorney Paul Kratz says those changes are, "to allow people, for religious or medical reasons, to be able to enter a pool without a swimsuit."

Asked if that meant Mrs. Hussein would be allowed inside the pool fence in full Muslim dress Kratz said, "She would likely be allowed to see her kids swim, yes."

In spite of that policy change that would now allow Mrs. Hussein on the pool grounds, her attorney says this isn't about getting money. They are, nevertheless, still seeking damages for the alleged embarrassment and humiliation they claim that Mrs. Hussein and her children suffered.

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