Since when does a 4-year-old girl have to wear a headbag in the first place? And since when does a CATHOLIC school get accused of discrimination because it will not submit to religious demands of a Muslim student? A raging Muslim politician contacted the school, saying: “I’m insisting this matter is addressed asap with a change of policy.”
UK Mirror(h/t Terry D) A four-year-old Muslim girl was banned from wearing an Islamic hijab to a Roman Catholic school, sparking a massive row on social media. The unnamed child was told by staff at St Clare’s School in Handsworth, that she should not wear her hijab to lessons.
The school has a strict uniform policy, including no headwear or scarf and asked parents of the girl to respect it. The row has now divided senior councillors and women’s rights activists who have been locked in a row over facebook and twitter.
According to the Birmingham Mail, her father called on Birmingham City Council’s Labour cabinet member for equalities Waseem Zaffar to intervene causing the row to erupt. Coun Zaffar wrote that he had met with the head teacher and told her the ban on the scarf was against the equalities act. He added: “I’m insisting this matter is addressed asap with a change of policy.”
But his cabinet colleague Coun Majid Mahmood countered that as a faith school St Clare’s is “maybe within its rights to insist upon a particular dress code,” just as a Muslim faith school “may require girls to wear headscarves”.
Dr Mashuq Ally, a former head of equalities for Birmingham City Council, agreed saying there is no religious requirement for girls of infant school age to wear the hijab. He also pointed out that a faith school is allowed to set its own uniform policy and exempt from discrimination legislation.
Where there are demographic changes which lead to a significant number of Muslim children attending a Christian school, then the parents should ask the school governors to consider changing the uniform policy he explained.
He added: “I also would have thought a Muslim parent would have thought very carefully about sending their child to a Roman Catholic school and considered the uniform policy.
“This should have all been discussed between school and parent, not been dragged into the public and political arena.”
Campaigner Gina Khan attacked Coun Zaffar on twitter, accusing him of backing male parents who enforce the hijab on little girls as a means of control. She said: “Hijab isn’t compulsory for a child in Islam, but patriarchal biraadari power used to control Muslim school girls.”