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Politics & Government

Wilmington mayor issues apology after Muslim kids asked to leave city pool

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Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki is apologizing to children asked to leave a city pool because of the religious clothing they were wearing.

City of Wilmington’s rules require swimmers wear proper attire,  but makes no mention of prohibiting cotton.

Ismaa’eel said the children who attend her camp come from impoverished neighborhoods and don’t have the money to go out and buy new clothing.

“These kids have experienced trauma, most of them even have a family member who’s been shot, right," she said. "Some has been shot in their life and they witnessed the shooting. You know these kids should be allowed to enjoy themselves. So if the mayor has taken that position, that’s great.”

Tahsiyn Ismaa’eel, who runs a summer camp, said her Muslim campers were singled out by workers at the Foster Brown pool even though other kids were also wearing cotton.

Ismaa’eel said children who attend her camp were asked to leave in late June and was harassed three times since then.

“Because we’re Muslims, I can’t see there’s any other reason why," she said. "She wasn’t putting anybody else out of the pool. I have pictures of people in the pool. Another patron who observed all this, a non-Muslim woman, said ‘This is discrimination.’ She said it first.”

The city initially framed it as a safety issue. But after a public outcry Purzycki issued a statement over the weekend saying the city acted poorly.

His spokesman said the city will review pool policies at the end of summer and is reaching out to Ismaa’eel for a meeting.

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