Saturday, September 04, 2004

International Hijab Solidarity Day.

Today was International Hijab Solidarity Day with a demonstration outside the French Embassy in London. The Assembly for the Protection of Hijab was formed to campaign to protect the right of Muslim women to wear the hijab. The French government have passed a law banning the wearing of the hijab in schools and colleges.

I agree with the principle of having a school uniform so that children of poor parents are not disadvantaged at school because of their parents income and ability to purchase clothes. I do not agree with the banning of the hijab, as this is an additional garment that is part of the child's religious life. It does not interfere with the classlessness of the school uniform. In a previous job I had, there was a ruling that no hats other than the official company cap could be worn, except for "a turban for religious purposes". That was a sensible company policy. Nobody's rights were affected.

I believe that the wearing of the hijab should be up to the woman herself and nobody else. It will not get in the way of her education. Children will always strive for identity, they have always written names onto their exercise books. Children and women in general, should be free to dress in a manner that is right for the way they live. The state should not interfere and I think the French government was wrong. People should be free to live their lives without this petty interference. When Muslim women wear the hijab, it is out of choice and they feel free and at ease. That is not a lot to ask, is it?

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