Veil (Part Three)

It seems that the discussion on the wearing of a veil can go the other way. A UK school has made the hijab part of the school uniform, even though 10% of the children there are not of the Islamic faith.
Countdown until the tabloids catch wind of this, 3…2…1…

(Thanks to It's Your Time You're Wasting, Not Mine)

29 thoughts on “Veil (Part Three)”

  1. Oh for the love of………….(insert deity of your choice here)………”Indeed, there will be a quota set down by Government…..”

    Presumably then there will have to be a quota of gay, left-handed, caucasian, atheist, one-legged, red-headed, Paraguayan llama herders in wheelchairs, complete with a stutter, ADHD, OCD and bifocal lenses……………………..***

    The world (or at least the UK) is going mad! At least it'll be in good company – with people like me for company [*lop-sided grin, aimed slightly above and to the left of your own right ear*]……..

    ***disclaimer – I reserve the right to state that I am not intentionally placing any offence against any of the so-called 'minority' (in itslef a term not intended to cause offence or distress!) groups named in that paragraph, nor am I intending any offence to any of the groups who may feel (that they have the right to feel?) victimised for NOT having been included in that paragraph and, finally, I wish no offence to be aimed towards people's differing senses of what constitutes proper sarcasm/parody/satire/, since I fully respect, and indeed encourage, the individual right to possess varying levels of a sense of humour, or lack thereof. Any omissions to this disclaimer are accidental and should not be seen as due cause to issue legal writs against me, my relatives, any of my forebears or any of my pet iguanas. Protests and petitions will only be accepted when written on either lollo rosso lettuce leaves from Jupiter or on the back of Jack Straw's (soon to be widely available) CV.

  2. Why would anyone send their kid to a faith school if the family did not hold the same convictions (unless it's a high performing C of E school and they lie through their teeth to get little Johnny into a good school)? Have the governors made this rule to discourage non-muslim parents from sending their children to the school thereby having an excuse for not meeting their 10% non-muslim pupil target? Heck but I'm a cynical hobbit today!

  3. Fair point but can you see the media/spindoctors/hysteria-mongerers seeing it that way?Like Tom said, the tabloids could (and probably will) have a field day – and millions read (i.e. believe) what they are fed by the gutter press – surely that is a point worth considering.

  4. Oh yeah, of course they will. Hell, I read through the entry and comments twice before posting my own and still thought people were talking about veils, not just scarves.

  5. It doesn't matter whether it's “just” scarves or not. The problem is that it applies only to female students. If this is such an essential item of clothing that it needs to be part of the school uniform, it should apply to all students. (And if you want a truly fascinating reaction from the tabloids, pass a law saying boys, too, have to wear hijabs….)If it's not an essential item, then it should be a matter of choice. That's the problem with Muslim veiling (or head scarving, it's the whole principle I'm trying to discuss). For some Muslim women, it is NOT what they would choose, but they never get the chance to make that choice. In the West, at least, that aspect of the matter should get some attention.

  6. Umm, that's not an entirely logical position. Back in 1969, when I started secondary school, we certainly had different uniform requirements for boys and girls. Certainly there was no question of me wearing a green skirt rather than black trousers! We had optional caps for boys too, though they'd gone out of fashion by my time, but my older brothers had worn them.

  7. So… we spend ages fighting for equality between boys and girls in school, for girls to be allowed to wear trousers and play sports and do woodwork and so on. Yes? Trying to teach kids that you shouldn't treat people differently “because they're a girl” or “because they're a boy”.And then along comes religion and says “no! we must go back several centuries! we must take guidance from an ancient book and separate and restrict the females!”This is not the equality that women in this country fought – and in some cases are still fighting – long and hard for.

  8. Equality schmequality. Women and men wear different clothes. That is the reality of the situation, at home or at work or at school, in the UK at the moment. In the overbearing majority of situations where clothes are mandated by relevant officials (at work, school, etc), different requirements are set for male and female. Because, shock horror, our bodies are different.Mandating that women wear hats (“headscarves”) is not a leap back hundreds of years. It is inflammatory perhaps, in today's climate. But would there be an outcry if it had been the boys? Or if it had been a cool cape? No.

    So I don't see why there would be any outcry about this. It's not like it's a burkha.

    Though I saw a headline today that claimed that 98% of a newspaper's readership thought veils should be banned in the UK. What that says about that paper's readership is quite worrying.

  9. Assistant principal of the LIA told the Leicester Mercury: “Like any school, we will have a uniform and in our case that will include a head scarf. When you go to any school you will know what the school uniform will be and the choice is there. I can't see why if a student wears a head scarf it should be an issue. It is the same as a shirt or tie – it's just part of our uniform.”So muslim children should not be allowed to wear head scarfs at a non-faith school? After all they know what the uniform is before they go there.

  10. Way back, when I was a wee lassie *adjusts false teeth, pats zimmer frame* I went to a Roman Catholic primary school, despite my family being regular CofE goers. It was a better school, apparently, I had no problems with anything religious. Unless you count being chronically confused for a few years as to why some people stopped halfway through the prayer Our Father, and being disappointed by the lack of incense in Sunday school…

  11. Interesting point whobejack.The first thing that came to my mind with reference to these “quotas” was… would they impose the same requirements upon a female Sikh? Whilst the traditional Sikh headdress is REQUIRED in Sikhism, it does have some important differences with the Muslim headdress.

  12. I agree with Kittybif. I'm originally from Chicago, back when Chicago Public Schools were notorious for being horrible. I knew loads of Jewish kids that went to the Roman Catholic schools because the education was far superior to that found in the public (in the American sense) schools. I think that they had to pay higher tuition (because the Catholic kids' parents presumably put more in the collection plate, I had always been told), but they didn't seem to mind.

  13. Cheers! Feel free – just tell people where you got it from (i.e. me of course, but link people to Tom's blog too!!)

  14. “……we don't need no thought control….”Dnnnnnn dn dn.

    Dnnnnnn dn dnnnnn dnnnnn. (bass line)

    With you all the way on that “Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!”.

  15. What DIDN'T make the national press the day after though was a corrected update from the school itself, which stated that the report was innacurate.Speaking to the Leicester Mercury on 14th October, the article reads…




    10:15 – 14 October 2006

    Non-muslim students at Leicester's new Islamic secondary school will not be forced to wear religious dress, its governing body has said.

    Governors of Madani High School said Zainab Elgaziari, the assistant principal of the Leicester Islamic Academy, was wrong to say all girls would have to wear a head scarf as part of their uniform regardless of their beliefs, as reported in yesterday's Leicester Mercury.

    The new voluntary-aided state school, which replaces the independent Leicester Islamic Academy when it opens next September, will have a duty to give 10 per cent of its 600 places to students from a non-Muslim background.

    Speaking on behalf of the temporary governing body of the new school, Hussein Suleman, also the city council's education spokesman, said Mrs Elgaziari had been unaware of the new school's policy when she spoke to the Leicester Mercury.

    Coun Suleman said: “She based her comments on the rules of the Leicester Islamic Academy, in which there are no non-Muslim pupils.

    “This was a misjudgement, but one that was perfectly understandable. In fact, not a single policy for the new school has been discussed.”

    In a statement, Musa Suleman, the chairman of the school's temporary governing body, said the school would respect the views of all pupils.

    He said: “Members of our temporary governing body have been concerned to learn of media reports in connection with the uniform policy at our new school and how this might affect non-Muslim students.

    “Decisions in connection with the wearing of school uniform are, of course, a matter for our temporary governing body to determine.

    “To date, we have yet to formally consider this matter.

    “In view of the interest shown by the media on this matter, we will be determining our uniform policy at our next meeting of the temporary governing body that will be held on November 1.”

    Mr Suleman said the governors understood their responsibilities under equality and human rights legislation concerning religious and cultural differences.

    “This guidance equally applies to our new Madani High School,” he said.

    “While the temporary governing body will, of course, ensure that the Madani School has an Islamic ethos, we will also pay regard to sensitivities of non-Muslim students.

    “There is, therefore, no question of forcing non-Muslim students to wear the scarf, hijab, alamira, chador, niqab or burqa.

    “The temporary governing body recognises the important role the school will play in the community at large and will make sure their policies are in the best interest of all students.”

    The school, set on a four-acre site in Evington, is being built using a 15.2 million grant awarded by the Government.

  16. Personally speaking, I'm glad you found that!Cynically speaking though, it's not much of a surprise that it wasn't in the national press, given the Western media's predilection for sensationalism…..

    “School won't force pupils to wear Muslim attire!” isn't as attractive a headline somehow……

    /mode cynic

  17. Actually, the school I went to in the late 90s insisted on “non-branded, plain black skirts or trousers” regardless of gender. Jeans, tracksuit bottoms and shorts were not permitted.Come summer the boys were less than impressed that they were sweating in trousers while the girls wore short skirts. So a bunch of year 11 boys who had been sent home for wearing shorts came in wearing skirts, refused to go home, and told everyone who asked (so in other words, everyone) why they were doing it.

    The head accepted the protest, accepted that if girls could wear skirts there was no real reason to send the boys home for doing it, and agreed to have a meeting about uniform.

    The uniform requirement was amended to “non-branded, plain black skirts, trousers or shorts (in summer).”

    I feel that this incident was effective in teaching the pupils – and the staff – about reasoned debate, equality, compromise, and non-violent protest in a democratic society.

    However I cannot see it being replayed in a faith school when the non-faith girls are getting too hot in the unaccustomed drapery around their heads and ask why they can't wear what the boys do.

  18. but as time goes by, more and more places have a uniform or dress code that spans both sexes, that doesn't insist on men and women dressing differently any more than they personally choose to. A uniform is supposed to remove differences and, usually, make a group of people identify as a “team”. What this uniform does is remove the difference Muslim and non-Muslim (by making everyone identify with the Muslim religion whether they believe it or not), but emphasise, in a very noticeable way, the difference male and female.As for an outcry over religious symbols for boys… I think this would happen if a Sikh school insisted all boys were not allowed to cut their hair, had to wear a loose bangle on their arm and a turban on their head, and had to carry a knife (which to the non-Sikh boys would command none of the respect and “not to be used for violence” caveats it does to a devout Sikh).

    There would certainly be an outcry if a Jewish school insisted all boys had to be circumsised, although I realise that surgery is a lot more extreme than a bit of clothing.

  19. Thanks. Will do as you suggest of course if and when I find the perfect opportunity to use it. Still giggling…. 😉

  20. I post on a lot of things, but there's nothing in my bookmarks that includes the initials “DS” so I have to assume not. Should I?

  21. Naw, I just saw someone with the same name who writes in a similar style.. like I said, ignore me. Most people do 😛

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