School rules on the uniforms children wear could be thrown into chaos this week by the final law lords judgment in the case of Shabina Begum, the Muslim girl who was banned from wearing full Islamic dress at school.
Headteachers have told The Observer that if the judgment goes in her favour, making it unlawful to exclude children for refusing on religious grounds to wear proper uniform, it would ‘undermine the authority of schools’.
Denbigh High School in Luton, whose case is now supported by the Department for Education, originally sent Begum home because she insisted on wearing a jilbab, or full-length Islamic gown. Begum, now 17, stopped going to school in 2002 and spent two years at home, before enrolling into another one that allowed her to wear the gown. [Link]
One of the stupidest cases to have found currency in UK courts, I hope the law lords chuck this out. Although I’m not in favour of the French model of banning all religious garb at school, this case is about one person’s interpretation of her religion and I don’t see why schools have to play fiddle to that. If she doesn’t like it, she can stop attending school.
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Filed in: Civil liberties,Religion