Britain school forced to reverse hijab ban

Britain school forced to reverse hijab ban

London - St Stephen's School in Newham, east London, had been planning to extend the ban to girls under 11 later this year


Published: Mon 22 Jan 2018, 9:48 PM

Last updated: Tue 23 Jan 2018, 9:13 AM

One of the UK's leading state-funded schools which had hit the headlines as one of the first to impose a ban on the hijab for girls under eight has been forced to reverse its decision after widespread criticism.
St Stephen's School in Newham, east London, had been planning to extend the ban to girls under 11 later this year but has chosen to withdraw the plans.
"The school's uniform policy is based on the health, safety and welfare of our children. The school has taken the decision to make changes to this policy with immediate effect and this follows on from conversations with our school community," the school said in a statement. "We will work with our school community to continue to review this policy going forward in the best interests of our children".
Arif Qawi, the chair of governors of the school who had recently called on the UK government to take a firm stand on young children wearing the hijab and fasting during the holy month Ramadan, resigned from his post on Friday.
According to The Sunday Times, the resignation followed offensive messages posted on social media against him and the school's Indian-origin principal Neena Lall.
"Now the head-teacher needs to go. Kick her out and force her to wear hijab. Let her see what forcing means," one of the messages against Lall reads.
Under the UK's Department for Education guidelines, uniform policy is a matter for individual head-teachers and their governing bodies.
The school, with a majority of pupils from Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi backgrounds, had urged the UK government to issue clear guidelines on the issue of hijab- wearing and religious fasting relating to very young pupils to prevent a backlash from parents.
Amina Lone, co-founder of the UK's Social Action and Research Foundation who has campaigned for young girls not to have to wear the hijab, warned that after his resignation other schools in the country would find themselves under pressure.

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