Wearing a Hijab to class

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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#21  Postby Aern Rakesh » Mar 11, 2010 11:16 am

HomerJay wrote:
Nora_Leonard wrote:However, whereas I agree that this is a topic of considerable debate among Muslims, the fact is that there are places in Britain, e.g. where I live, where Muslims make up a substantial percentage of the population (~25%), and many of these Muslims are newly arrived refugees with very fixed ideas of what rules they need to follow. To ban the hijab in schools would cause enormous consternation and probably widespread demand for Muslim schools. This way these children get a secular rather than religious education.
However IMO there are other far more important battles to be fought than forbidding the wearing of a headscarf.

Cheers, Nora :cheers:


I think it is highly and unnecessarily disingenuous to say many, as a percentage of asylum seekers or immigrants or the muslim population the number is very small.


Again, I specifically said "where I live". My borough has the second highest number of Somali refugees (8% of the school population) in the country, Cardiff being the first. We also have Muslim refugees from central Europe.


HomerJay wrote:The 'battle' you see is about forbidding headscarves, not about secularism and democracy, which is what it is really about.


Whereas I see making the small compromise of allowing Muslim girls to wear the hijab minor as compared to risking them being withdrawn from school altogether. Muslim hijab-wearing girls brought up in the state school system are going to appreciate secularism and democracy IMO.

HomerJay wrote:BTW There is an enormous demand for muslim schools already but I find it bizarre how you think we should cave in so easily, I would put it down to an enforced reverence for religion that you have been unable to shake off. Bear in mind of course, that where you favour the religious over the secular you are discriminating against the rest of us and have lost sight of some fairly basic democratic norms.


This is, of course, your opinion, and you are entitled to it. I do not feel that we are 'caving' in any way. I was asked the other day by a school governor whether schools were obliged to provide prayer rooms for Muslim parents, and I said Of course not. They are not even obliged to provide prayer rooms for Muslim staff or students, however IMO it is good practice to have a quiet area if Muslims want to do their midday prayers, especially during Ramadan.

As for me having an enforced reverence for religion that I have been unable to shake off... How well you know me...not!

I will not deny that there are aspects of human life that I respect that are embedded in religious tradition that I would not want to see done away with. Most of these have to do with cultivating an inner life, which, as a strong introvert, is very important to me.

Although I did, in my youth, go through a very strong phase of anger at the Church, what I don't seem to have any more is the antipathy towards anything religious which some people on this forum seem to have.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#22  Postby HomerJay » Mar 11, 2010 11:35 am

Nora_Leonard wrote:Again, I specifically said "where I live". My borough has the second highest number of Somali refugees (8% of the school population) in the country, Cardiff being the first. We also have Muslim refugees from central Europe.


But you're still making general prescriptions from specific cases.

Nora_Leonard wrote:
Whereas I see making the small compromise of allowing Muslim girls to wear the hijab minor as compared to risking them being withdrawn from school altogether.


It's a question of leadership, especially for example Nigeria ATM where battles are fought along religious identities, then it is a good thing for people to exist briefly without this pressure, both christian and muslim nigerians would have a case for asylum but we wouldn't want them to be exposed to the same strife over here, surely? Just as Somalians have brought some fairly racist ideas with them and somali gangs are fighting christian youth in london.

Nora_Leonard wrote:As for me having an enforced reverence for religion that I have been unable to shake off... How well you know me...not!


The thing about the societal norm of showing respect for religion and the taboo against disrespecting it is that it operates independently of our beliefs, that is why it becomes a taboo. Like I said, we need to remember that we have wider responsibilites.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#23  Postby Simon_Gardner » Mar 11, 2010 11:40 am

HomerJay wrote:The exhortations in the koran are quite specific that muslims should look different from non-muslims, it is about identity politics not 'respect'.

So are purple and green died hair stripes out of the question? What about (for women) going bald? :cheers:
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#24  Postby Aern Rakesh » Mar 11, 2010 12:00 pm

HomerJay wrote:
Nora_Leonard wrote:Again, I specifically said "where I live". My borough has the second highest number of Somali refugees (8% of the school population) in the country, Cardiff being the first. We also have Muslim refugees from central Europe.


But you're still making general prescriptions from specific cases.


Yet I'm on the ground here. And I'm talking about the policies we've put in place here, as compared to elsewhere. This is an arena where I can have an actual effect.

And just to be clear and remove the Islamophobic associations, are you saying you think Jewish boys and men should be forbidden to wear the kippah in schools?

HomerJay wrote:
Nora_Leonard wrote:
Whereas I see making the small compromise of allowing Muslim girls to wear the hijab minor as compared to risking them being withdrawn from school altogether.


It's a question of leadership, especially for example Nigeria ATM where battles are fought along religious identities, then it is a good thing for people to exist briefly without this pressure, both christian and muslim nigerians would have a case for asylum but we wouldn't want them to be exposed to the same strife over here, surely? Just as Somalians have brought some fairly racist ideas with them and somali gangs are fighting christian youth in london.


Not entirely sure of your point here?

HomerJay wrote:
Nora_Leonard wrote:As for me having an enforced reverence for religion that I have been unable to shake off... How well you know me...not!


The thing about the societal norm of showing respect for religion and the taboo against disrespecting it is that it operates independently of our beliefs, that is why it becomes a taboo. Like I said, we need to remember that we have wider responsibilites.


So now you're going to lecture me on my responsibilities? Which are?
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#25  Postby babel » Mar 11, 2010 12:05 pm

And just to be clear and remove the Islamophobic associations, are you saying you think Jewish boys and men should be forbidden to wear the kippah in schools?
If there's a ban on non-religious headcovers, yes.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#26  Postby Simon_Gardner » Mar 11, 2010 12:34 pm

Nora_Leonard wrote:are you saying you think Jewish boys and men should be forbidden to wear the kippah in schools?

Just like in France. Yes. Image Image Image
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#27  Postby Aught3 » Mar 11, 2010 8:13 pm

babel wrote:Taking off your cap is a way to show respect to the people you are visiting. I do not see a reason to distinguish between a cap and other means to cover your head as the religious meaning only has meaning to the one wearing it, or anyone else of that religion. I find this not fair. Either you allow everyone to wear whatever they want, including non-religious headcoverings, or you do not allow headcoverings. Allowing exceptions based on religious prescription shouldn't be done.

If this rule of etiquette were a law I'd say you were obeying the letter rather than the spirit, although in this case you don't even seem to be obeying the letter. In our society it's considered polite to remove your hat when you come indoors, not the more nebulous head-coverings that you're reaching for. As Nora was pointing out many Muslim women feel that it is their Islamic duty to cover their hair when they are out in public. For them it is a sign of respect to Allah and the other people of their religion. Personally, I don't care what they think if there is good reason to support a ban on hijab then I will support it in spite of the Muslims' religious feelings. But all you've done is found a rule of etiquette that you stretched out of proportion to force Muslim girls to do what you think is best for them. That's not a good enough reason to infringe on religious expression.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#28  Postby cursuswalker » Mar 11, 2010 8:17 pm

I do not give a damn about Hijabs or turbans. To me they are larger versions of hair bands etc. and are totally acceptable, whereas hats are designed to be removed in a moment. It's just not worth making an issue.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#29  Postby HomerJay » Mar 11, 2010 8:26 pm

Simon_Gardner wrote:
HomerJay wrote:The exhortations in the koran are quite specific that muslims should look different from non-muslims, it is about identity politics not 'respect'.
What about (for women) going bald? :cheers:


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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#30  Postby HomerJay » Mar 11, 2010 8:40 pm

Nora_Leonard wrote:Not entirely sure of your point here?


That, under your proposed solution, you would simply allow the identity politics that had caused violence be repeated in the classroom but for some very strange, undefined reason, allow muslims to project identity because of a perceived 'requirement' but not the christians because they don't have sufficient 'requirement'.

Nora_Leonard wrote:So now you're going to lecture me on my responsibilities? Which are?


Happy to elucidate for you, this canard you have presented (among others) that there is a reasonable concern that muslims would withdraw their girls from school, in France this was also threatened by only 100-150 pupils were taken, out of a population of c30,000. So 0.5% (ish). Whereas in this country the number of born muslims who are no longer practising is put at 200,000 or 10% of the total population. Whilst there is some conversion to islam attrition due to apostasy is much higher.

So again for some unexplained reason, you would defer to 0.5% rather than create a free and secular space that the 10% who may leave the religion will find comfort in.

So your responsibilities to the community of somalians is based on accomodating a very tiny number rather than facing and meeting your responsibilities to the larger number. Plus of course your responsibilities to other children to maintain their secular space plus their parents and society as a whole.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#31  Postby Aern Rakesh » Mar 11, 2010 9:03 pm

HomerJay wrote:
Nora_Leonard wrote:So now you're going to lecture me on my responsibilities? Which are?


Happy to elucidate for you, this canard you have presented (among others) that there is a reasonable concern that muslims would withdraw their girls from school, in France this was also threatened by only 100-150 pupils were taken, out of a population of c30,000. So 0.5% (ish). Whereas in this country the number of born muslims who are no longer practising is put at 200,000 or 10% of the total population. Whilst there is some conversion to islam attrition due to apostasy is much higher.

So again for some unexplained reason, you would defer to 0.5% rather than create a free and secular space that the 10% who may leave the religion will find comfort in.


How on earth does that follow? There is no requirement—on the part of the schools—that Muslim girls wear the hijab. And as far as I'm concerned our schools are already a free and secular space.

It is my opinion—although clearly not yours—that allowing Muslim girls to wear the hijab takes away the incentive to revolt and/or become more militant.

HomerJay wrote:So your responsibilities to the community of somalians is based on accomodating a very tiny number rather than facing and meeting your responsibilities to the larger number. Plus of course your responsibilities to other children to maintain their secular space plus their parents and society as a whole.


As I've already said, I don't think I am trying to convert our schools into non-secular places. In fact, by constantly pointing at the hijab, you, and others like you, are highlighting something that could easily be ignored and forgotten.

I don't support all of Somali traditions, like for instance FGM or forced marriage, both of which are child protection issues and for which we have very clear guidance. Fighting to ensure that no girl goes through either is well worth the effort.

HomerJay wrote:Whereas in this country the number of born muslims who are no longer practising is put at 200,000 or 10% of the total population. Whilst there is some conversion to islam attrition due to apostasy is much higher.
You are actually making my point here. Don't make a fuss, let them wear the headscarf and they'll take it off of their own volition. Make a fuss, say "you can't do that" and they'll just dig in their heels.

I went to a conference put on by one of my colleagues that was about Somali achievement. This was done because the Somali pupils start out with really bad results, but by the time they are leaving high school they are at the top of their class. I listened to many stories of what life was like as a refugee, of how, at the same time as they were struggling to make a living here working at very low-paid jobs, they were getting begging phone calls from all their family and friends left in Somalia.

I'm not entirely sure why I told you that. Except to reiterate that there are some battles worth fighting and others not. And you aren't going to convince me that telling Muslim girls and women in this country that they can't wear the hijab is a good idea. Even though it is heartening to see the many Muslim women that don't feel obliged to wear the hijab, I think it is a sign of a free society that there can be both.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#32  Postby Emmeline » Mar 11, 2010 9:30 pm

I agree Nora - there are more important battles to fight in education and I'd much rather see these girls in non-faith state schools than private Muslim ones.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#33  Postby HomerJay » Mar 11, 2010 10:45 pm

Nora_Leonard wrote: In fact, by constantly pointing at the hijab, you, and others like you, are highlighting something that could easily be ignored and forgotten.


I take exception to that nora, I do not constantly point at the hijab, you have absolutely no basis for making a remark like that and it is factually incorrect (again!).

Where it does come up in schools, and it does, I am simply outlining the secular position, which supports schools and pupils.

Nora_Leonard wrote:
HomerJay wrote:Whereas in this country the number of born muslims who are no longer practising is put at 200,000 or 10% of the total population. Whilst there is some conversion to islam attrition due to apostasy is much higher.
You are actually making my point here. Don't make a fuss, let them wear the headscarf and they'll take it off of their own volition. Make a fuss, say "you can't do that" and they'll just dig in their heels.


Again, this isn't the French experience, and again, there is no logical connection here that is somehow 'making your point'.

I'm sure you consider schools secular but you are not a secularist, so you may not be best placed to judge. Secularism means treating people equally, (which you're already said we shouldn't do), and in that way secularism can be supported by both religionists and non-religionists, being an atheist doesn't make one a secularist, it's a political thing.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#34  Postby Melhael » Mar 11, 2010 11:51 pm

DavidNewman wrote:Anyone for the total banning on all religious practices in public schooling? I personally can't decide what's more important. An open minded education, or freedom of expression etc


To me, it's extremely simple: I don't care about religion in school. But I do care about sexism. The hijab is a sexist symbol. Thus, I want it banned. Simple as that. I don't give a damn about cultural or religious arguments in favour or against it. I just don't tolerate that kind of sexism.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#35  Postby Ciarin » Mar 12, 2010 4:58 am

DavidNewman wrote:Not wearing headgear in schools is also a security procedure. It is alot harder to hide a knife in your hair than it is to hide one in your hat.

Just food for thought. It's not always about etiquette.



if they're worried about knives hidden under a hat, or in hair, I'm sure the metal detector would pick it up.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#36  Postby xsmooth_criminalx » Mar 12, 2010 5:02 am

Ciarin wrote:
DavidNewman wrote:Not wearing headgear in schools is also a security procedure. It is alot harder to hide a knife in your hair than it is to hide one in your hat.

Just food for thought. It's not always about etiquette.



if they're worried about knives hidden under a hat, or in hair, I'm sure the metal detector would pick it up.


Some schools, like the one I went to, don't have metal detectors...

Also, to put my two cents in, the hijabs can be worn the day I'm allowed to wear my fedora to school. Otherwise, it's not fair.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#37  Postby Ciarin » Mar 12, 2010 5:18 am

xsmooth_criminalx wrote:
Ciarin wrote:
DavidNewman wrote:Not wearing headgear in schools is also a security procedure. It is alot harder to hide a knife in your hair than it is to hide one in your hat.

Just food for thought. It's not always about etiquette.



if they're worried about knives hidden under a hat, or in hair, I'm sure the metal detector would pick it up.


Some schools, like the one I went to, don't have metal detectors...

Also, to put my two cents in, the hijabs can be worn the day I'm allowed to wear my fedora to school. Otherwise, it's not fair.


If they're so worried about weapons, enough to ban hats because of them, then they'd have a metal detector. I suspect the whole "there might be weapons on your head" argument is a farce.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#38  Postby Aern Rakesh » Mar 12, 2010 7:27 am

HomerJay wrote:
Nora_Leonard wrote: In fact, by constantly pointing at the hijab, you, and others like you, are highlighting something that could easily be ignored and forgotten.


I take exception to that nora, I do not constantly point at the hijab, you have absolutely no basis for making a remark like that and it is factually incorrect (again!).


I apologise for that. I was speaking from the point of view of having participated—and then refused to participate as the discussion just went on and on and round and round—in what seemed like endless hijab/burka threads on the old forum.

HomerJay wrote:
Nora_Leonard wrote:
HomerJay wrote:Whereas in this country the number of born muslims who are no longer practising is put at 200,000 or 10% of the total population. Whilst there is some conversion to islam attrition due to apostasy is much higher.
You are actually making my point here. Don't make a fuss, let them wear the headscarf and they'll take it off of their own volition. Make a fuss, say "you can't do that" and they'll just dig in their heels.


Again, this isn't the French experience, and again, there is no logical connection here that is somehow 'making your point'.


Making my point in the sense that it is my experience that if you thwart people they become resistant and rebel. I don't have facts and figures for that.

HomerJay wrote:I'm sure you consider schools secular but you are not a secularist, so you may not be best placed to judge. Secularism means treating people equally, (which you're already said we shouldn't do), and in that way secularism can be supported by both religionists and non-religionists, being an atheist doesn't make one a secularist, it's a political thing.


Whatever. You are now trying to make it seem like I don't believe in treating people equally just because I think the wearing of the hijab is not going to lead to the downfall of the school system. Well I believe I am working for a fair and free society, but perhaps not in a way that pleases you. We'll just have to agree to differ.

EDIT to say that I had been wondering whether NotAPrayer had made it to the new forum. Guess I have my answer now.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#39  Postby Melhael » Mar 12, 2010 9:30 am

Nora_Leonard wrote:Making my point in the sense that it is my experience that if you thwart people they become resistant and rebel. I don't have facts and figures for that.


They are already. Besides we cannot put aside our moral values just because it would take away the warm fuzzy feeling Muslim men get when they see their wives, mothers and daughters with a hijab. We have compromised quite a lot, for decades now. Maybe it's time to reassert our values and once more remind everyone that, put plainly: equality > sexism.

You cannot say, on the one hand: "Let's do this wonderful thing called 'equality'!' And on the other hand: "Oh, but a minority over there hates equality and we love everybody, so let's forget about the 'equality' stuff and everyone will be fine."

Because it doesn't work like that. When we act like that, even more people get hurt. And we become accomplices.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#40  Postby Aern Rakesh » Mar 12, 2010 9:39 am

Melhael wrote:
Nora_Leonard wrote:Making my point in the sense that it is my experience that if you thwart people they become resistant and rebel. I don't have facts and figures for that.


They are already. Besides we cannot put aside our moral values just because it would take away the warm fuzzy feeling Muslim men get when they see their wives, mothers and daughters with a hijab. We have compromised quite a lot, for decades now. Maybe it's time to reassert our values and once more remind everyone that, put plainly: equality > sexism.


Melhael, I can't be certain about this, but from what you've written above you seem to be saying that it is only men who make the decisions about the wearing of the hijab.

I do not believe this to be the case, and until it is proven beyond all doubt, I'm going to come down on the side of Muslim women who chose to wear the hijab rather than siding with western men who would tell them not to do it. Sorry.

Please note that I'm referring to the hijab, the headscarf, and not the full body covering niqab/burka.
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