(REUTERS) A German court ruled on Wednesday that Muslim girls must take part in school swimming lessons with boys, in a landmark decision that touches on the sensitive relationship between religion and the state.

The decision by Germany’s top court for public and administrative disputes signals that the state’s constitutional obligation to educate children can take precedence over customs and practices linked to an individual’s religious beliefs.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her center-right government have sought dialogue with the country’s roughly four-millions Muslims, but have also said they must make an effort to integrate and learn German.

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