UK Muslim schoolboys in Catholic school banned from classes for refusing to shave their beards

The two 14-year-olds have been in ‘isolation’ at Mount Carmel Roman Catholic High School in Accrington, Lancashire, for almost a month after the school claimed they were breaching its dress code.

telegraph Beards are banned under the guidelines, which also prohibits the wearing of false nails, fake tan, make-up, inappropriate jewellery and the dyeing of hair. The families of the boys claim the pupils are being discriminated against as their religion forbids them to shave due to beards’ status as a symbol of faith.

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A relative of one of the boys said: “Because these boys cannot shave their beards for religious reasons, they are being put in isolation for six-and-a-half hours every day. “They are not being allowed to mix with anybody or speak to friends. It is pure discrimination. (They should not be in a Catholic school to begin with)

“They chose that school because it is within their area and has good results. The school has to have an open policy and they have to take in people from all religions.” (And all religions must abide by the rules there)

She added their parents sent the school a letter of complaint explaining they could not shave as their beards were symbols of their faith. The school said its own research concluded the Koran does not require the pupils to wear beards, making it a choice rather than a rule, and says they will not be permitted to return until the matter is resolved.

Teachers can lawfully impose policies that “restrict the freedom of pupils to manifest their religion” – for example, by covering their face or carrying the traditional Sikh kirpan dagger – on various grounds. Last month the Prime Minister said he would “back up” schools that ask people to remove Muslim veils, saying if schools wanted to implement a particular dress code, he believed the Government should back them.