Victorians outraged over tribunal ban on uncovered shoulders, thighs for Ramadan 2011

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Melbourne, Sept.16 (ANI): An overwhelming 94 per cent of readers of the Australian daily, The Herald Sun, have disagreed with the legal ruling approving the contentious ban on uncovered shoulders and thighs for next year's Ramadan.

Though Premier John Brumby has refused to weigh into the debate about the event, saying he will wait for the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal's (VCAT) ruling before making any comment.

VCAT has approved a ban on uncovered shoulders and thighs for a community event to be held at the Dandenong Oasis, a municipal pool.

"Participants aged 10 and over must ensure their bodies are covered from waist to knee and the entire torso extending to the upper arms," a request by Dandenong City Council and the YMCA states in an exemption application to the Equal Opportunities Act.t added: "Participants must not wear transparent clothing."

The issue has sparked a huge community debate, with well over 500 people feeling that the administrative ruling has gone too far to appease minority interests.

Even senior Islamic figures have raised concerns about the precedent.

The ban on skimpy clothes will apply between 6.15 and 8.15 p.m. on August 21 next year, a time when the pool is closed to the public and normally used by a Muslim women's swimming group.

The ban was yesterday compared by the Human Rights Commissioner Helen Szoke to a ban on thongs in a pub.

"Matters such as this are not easy to resolve and require a balance to be achieved between competing rights and obligations," she said.

Sherene Hassan, vice-president of the Islamic Society of Victoria, said she didn't support the dress restrictions.

"My preference would be that no dress code is stipulated," Hassan said.

A spokeswoman for the City of Greater Dandenong said the ban would help Muslims feel part of the community. (ANI)

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