Wearing a Hijab to class

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Wearing a Hijab to class

#1  Postby DavidNewman » Mar 10, 2010 10:31 am

At the school where I work (and indeed at most schools in Norway) we're not supposed to allow the pupils to wear caps and the like while in class. Some enforce this more harshly than others and I admit to having let it slip somewhat because I think it's a stupid rule. But, if it is a rule it should be enforced equally, right?

Yet, despite this we get a (in my eyes) glaring inconsistency because no-one seems to mind that girls from muslim families wear their hijabs to class. For some reason this is a-ok while we're still supposed to strike down on boys wearing caps. Unfortunately it seems that I'm the only one who sees this as a problem and thus I've only mentioned this to a couple of my colleagues who are also personal friends, but it's starting to annoy me somewhat.

Am I overreacting?
Is this such an issue that I should take it up with the management?
And more importantly...why don't people see the inconsistency in this practice?

The mind boggles... :nono:


http://forum.richarddawkins.net/viewtop ... 2&t=102000
For the original thread.


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
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#2  Postby Aught3 » Mar 10, 2010 10:38 am

Taking off your cap while inside is showing respect in our culture whilst wearing a head covering in public is showing respect in theirs. There are better reasons to oppose the hijab on young girls than an equal enforcement of arbitrary etiquette.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#3  Postby DavidNewman » Mar 10, 2010 10:43 am

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.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#4  Postby Millefleur » Mar 10, 2010 10:46 am

Of all the muslim headdresses I find the Hijab the least offensive and if we were to make allowances I think this would be the only one permissable, being that it basically only covers the hair and not the face.

I think there should be some allowances made for religious wear/jewellery, if only to keep the religious from whingeing about oppression. At my school caps, hoods or anything that concealed the face were banned as was excessive jewellery but I believe one necklace or a ring or two was permitted and I seem to remember one girl in a hijab. Its tempting to jump on the bandwagon and say no religion in schools but I think we we have to make some allowances so unobtrusive headdresses would be fine with me, anything that conceals the face would be a definate no-no.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#5  Postby Aught3 » Mar 10, 2010 10:55 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.
Okay, I thought this was about wearing caps in class, but if it really became a security risk for the school (caps, really?) then I suppose it would be a better reason for a ban.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#6  Postby babel » Mar 10, 2010 11:18 am

Aught3 wrote:Taking off your cap while inside is showing respect in our culture whilst wearing a head covering in public is showing respect in theirs. There are better reasons to oppose the hijab on young girls than an equal enforcement of arbitrary etiquette.
Why is it that in the case of the cap, the respect for the broader public outweighs that of the individual and in the case of the hijab, the reverse is true?
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#7  Postby Strontium Dog » Mar 10, 2010 11:23 am

Because wearing a baseball cap isn't a religious requirement?
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#8  Postby babel » Mar 10, 2010 11:33 am

I can't think of a reason why removing your headgear/dress as a sign of respect in our society is outweighed by the personal, religious requirement of wearing a headcover? I'm not opposed to the wearing of the hijab, but then I think the ban on other headgear/dress should be lifted too.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#9  Postby Aught3 » Mar 10, 2010 7:30 pm

babel wrote:Why is it that in the case of the cap, the respect for the broader public outweighs that of the individual and in the case of the hijab, the reverse is true?
It doesn't? Actually I don't think I understand your question are you thinking that in Scandinavian countries wearing a hijab is not considered respectful?
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#10  Postby Rollerlocked » Mar 10, 2010 7:50 pm

There should be no religious exemptions to secular laws and rules. If no one else is allowed to wear headgear in class, exception should not be made for Muslim headgear.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#11  Postby Aern Rakesh » Mar 10, 2010 8:05 pm

This afternoon I observed a great RE class where the teacher, a lovely woman originally from Morocco, was wearing the hijab. When she was reviewing the previous week's lesson, which was about beliefs about what happens at death, she mentioned that there were some people, including two of the pupils in the class, who didn't believe in life after death—and that that was fine.

They were doing a project where they were making symbolic maps of their life journey. I was wandering round asking some 'pupil voice' questions, and when I asked some of the kids what they would like to see in RE, they said they'd like to hear more about unfamiliar beliefs, like atheism. I said "I'm an atheist!" and their eyes widened and they said "REALLY?" They were really sweet.

Living where I do, the hijab is very common, so common one doesn't really notice it. Although the teacher was wearing the hijab none of the kids were, although I've been in several primary schools where there are girls who wear the hijab. The teacher was very enthusiastic and gave a really creative, inclusive RE lesson, and to my mind that is what is important, not what she was wearing.

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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#12  Postby HomerJay » Mar 11, 2010 12:15 am

Aught3 wrote:Taking off your cap while inside is showing respect in our culture whilst wearing a head covering in public is showing respect in theirs. There are better reasons to oppose the hijab on young girls than an equal enforcement of arbitrary etiquette.


It's a little bit more complex than this in so many ways.

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

The question is whether we open up secular public spaces in schools to the vagaries of religious identity.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#13  Postby IrrationalSkeptic » Mar 11, 2010 12:24 am

HomerJay wrote:
Aught3 wrote:Taking off your cap while inside is showing respect in our culture whilst wearing a head covering in public is showing respect in theirs. There are better reasons to oppose the hijab on young girls than an equal enforcement of arbitrary etiquette.


It's a little bit more complex than this in so many ways.

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

The question is whether we open up secular public spaces in schools to the vagaries of religious identity.


I can see no reason why a secular institution should make religious allowances, in any case. To do so would be biased.

I don't think there would be a debate if children with crucifixes (sp?) around their neck were allowed to wear them when any other jewellery isn't allowed.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#14  Postby babel » Mar 11, 2010 7:46 am

Aught3 wrote:
babel wrote:Why is it that in the case of the cap, the respect for the broader public outweighs that of the individual and in the case of the hijab, the reverse is true?
It doesn't? Actually I don't think I understand your question are you thinking that in Scandinavian countries wearing a hijab is not considered respectful?

You wrote earlier:
Taking off your cap while inside is showing respect in our culture whilst wearing a head covering in public is showing respect in theirs. There are better reasons to oppose the hijab on young girls than an equal enforcement of arbitrary etiquette.

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.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#15  Postby DavidNewman » Mar 11, 2010 7:59 am

IrrationalSkeptic wrote:
HomerJay wrote:
Aught3 wrote:Taking off your cap while inside is showing respect in our culture whilst wearing a head covering in public is showing respect in theirs. There are better reasons to oppose the hijab on young girls than an equal enforcement of arbitrary etiquette.


It's a little bit more complex than this in so many ways.

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

The question is whether we open up secular public spaces in schools to the vagaries of religious identity.


I can see no reason why a secular institution should make religious allowances, in any case. To do so would be biased.

I don't think there would be a debate if children with crucifixes (sp?) around their neck were allowed to wear them when any other jewellery isn't allowed.


I find nothing wrong with crucifixes. That's different ;) :what:
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#16  Postby Aern Rakesh » Mar 11, 2010 9:13 am

DavidNewman wrote:
IrrationalSkeptic wrote:
I don't think there would be a debate if children with crucifixes (sp?) around their neck were allowed to wear them when any other jewellery isn't allowed.


I find nothing wrong with crucifixes. That's different ;) :what:


In fact, in Britain, even in Catholic schools, crucifixes are not allowed as they are classed as jewellery rather than an item of clothing required by one's religion. There is nothing in the Bible which says that Christian's must wear a crucifix, whereas it is the consensus (religious term) that Muslim girls are required to wear the hijab, and also initiated Sikhs are required to wear the 5 signs, which include the steel bracelet and the kirpan (ceremonial dagger; in the case of school kids this is usually a small, sealed unit). Obviously not all Muslims feel obliged to wear the hijab.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#17  Postby HomerJay » Mar 11, 2010 9:47 am

Nora_Leonard wrote:
In fact, in Britain, even in Catholic schools, crucifixes are not allowed as they are classed as jewellery rather than an item of clothing required by one's religion. There is nothing in the Bible which says that Christian's must wear a crucifix, whereas it is the consensus (religious term) that Muslim girls are required to wear the hijab, and also initiated Sikhs are required to wear the 5 signs, which include the steel bracelet and the kirpan (ceremonial dagger; in the case of school kids this is usually a small, sealed unit). Obviously not all Muslims feel obliged to wear the hijab.


This is really factually incorrect nora, do you have a link you can post where the hijab is even mentioned in the koran?

This is a debate between muslims about this so we have no need to impose a stricter view of their religion than the practioners themselves.

There is a canard that says something is a 'requirement' of someone's religion which really says nothing at all, since people don't give up their religion or become apostates simply because they temporarily cease to project their religious identity.

A muslim who misses a timed prayer session doesn't become a non-muslim.

The 'requirements' of religious identity all have their roots from times of conflict when religions wanted to identify friend or foe, why exactly do we need to bring these issues into the modern secular spaces we create for five year olds?
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#18  Postby Aern Rakesh » Mar 11, 2010 10:28 am

HomerJay wrote:
Nora_Leonard wrote:
In fact, in Britain, even in Catholic schools, crucifixes are not allowed as they are classed as jewellery rather than an item of clothing required by one's religion. There is nothing in the Bible which says that Christian's must wear a crucifix, whereas it is the consensus (religious term) that Muslim girls are required to wear the hijab, and also initiated Sikhs are required to wear the 5 signs, which include the steel bracelet and the kirpan (ceremonial dagger; in the case of school kids this is usually a small, sealed unit). Obviously not all Muslims feel obliged to wear the hijab.


This is really factually incorrect nora, do you have a link you can post where the hijab is even mentioned in the koran?


I didn't say it was in the Qur'an, I said it had been determined by consensus (ijma). At least that is my understanding of the matter.

wikipedia wrote:Ijmā' (إجماع) is an Arabic term referring ideally to the consensus of the ummah (the community of Muslims, or followers of Islam).


What is in the Qur'an, and what forms the basis for insistence on wearing the hijab, is an injunction to be modest in dress.

wikipedia wrote: The Qur'an instructs Muslims to dress in a modest way. The following verses are generally interpreted as applying to all Muslim men and women.

The surah 24:30-31 say:[7]

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss; [...] (Qur'an 24:31)

In the following verse, Muslim women are asked to draw their jilbab over them (when they go out), as a measure to distinguish themselves from others, so that they are not harassed. Whilst in sura 33:59 we read[7]

Those who harass believing men and believing women undeservedly, bear (on themselves) a calumny and a grievous sin. O Prophet! Enjoin your wives, your daughters, and the wives of true believers that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad) That is most convenient, that they may be distinguished and not be harassed. [...] (Qur'an 33:58–59)

The following verses give special directives to the wives of Muhammad though some commentators believe that all women should imitate their example.[citation needed]

O Wives of the Prophet, ye are not like any of the (other) women. If ye do fear (Allah), be not too complaisant of speech, lest one in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire: but speak ye a speak that is just. Abide still in your homes and make not a dazzling display like that of the former times of ignorance: and establish regular prayer, and give regular charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye Members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless.

[...] (Qur'an 33:32–33)

Another verse in the Qur'an (33:53) talks about the veil as being a separation of two men and spheres of life such as the public and the private, rather than between men and women. This could very well be the definitive verse on hijab as it has been quoted as such by a number of Islamic theologians.[citation needed]

O Ye who believe! Enter not the dwellings of the Prophet for a meal without waiting for the proper time, unless permission be granted you. But if ye are invited, enter, and, when your meal is ended, then disperse. Linger not for conversation. Lo! That would cause annoyance to the Prophet, and he would be shy of (asking) you (to go); but Allah is not shy of the truth. And when ye ask of them (the wives of the Prophet) anything, ask it of them from behind a curtain. That is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. And it is not for you to cause annoyance to the messenger of Allah, nor that ye should ever marry his wives after him. Lo! That in Allah's sight would be an enormity. (Qur'an 33:53)


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.

And as I also said above, in the class that I visited yesterday it was the teacher, not any of the pupils, who was wearing the hijab. And I thought she was fantastic, she even pointed out that it was perfectly all right to be atheist!

I really don't want to get into a debate about Islamic law. I myself find nothing offensive about the headscarf, I've said this repeatedly on the many, many hijab threads on the old forum. I don't like the niqab and in fact that is banned in schools, and rightly so. However IMO there are other far more important battles to be fought than forbidding the wearing of a headscarf.

Cheers, Nora :cheers:
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#19  Postby HomerJay » Mar 11, 2010 10:58 am

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.

To decide national policy to placate a few thousand people is ridiculous.

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

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.
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Re: Wearing a Hijab to class

#20  Postby DavidNewman » Mar 11, 2010 11:13 am

Ironically as I write this, I see two students flaunting the headress rule of my college. I just find it annoying that whilst I am stopped, I mean physically stopped, on my way into college and told to remove my hood or hat, these people are allowed to wander the halls ignoring the rules...

It's not really the headscarf or whatever that I find so offensive even. It's the fact that religion is given special treatment. I'm tempted to start a religion where it is required you carry a fully loaded M16 with you at all times and see how far that goes :snooty:
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