dress code battle
UK schoolgirl wins dress code battle
LONDON, March 2: A 15-year-old Muslim girl won the right on Wednesday to wear full Islamic dress at her British school in the latest European case pitting the religious rights of minority communities against Western ways of life.
Widening a gulf between Britain and continental Europe on the issue, the Court of Appeal upheld Shabina Begum's case against her school's refusal to let her wear a jilbab, which covers the whole body except for hands and face.
Speaking outside court, Shabina Begum, of Bangladeshi origin, said she was a victim of what she called a general vilification of Islam since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
"As a young woman growing up in post-9/11 Britain, I have witnessed a great deal of bigotry from the media, politicians and legal officials," she said. "This bigotry resulted from my choice to wear a piece of cloth ... It is amazing that in the so-called free world I have to fight to wear this Islamic dress."
The ruling - which delighted groups representing Britain's 1.6 million Muslims - contrasted with France's controversial policy on the same issue. "There, it was a political decision that was taken to persecute their Muslim minority, whereas in this country the open attitude taken with Islamic practice will reap more benefits," the Muslim Association of Britain said.
"Today's judgment is a welcome slap in the face for the French headscarf ban," it added in a statement. The British Appeal Court's three-judge panel found that the High Court, in rejecting Shabina Begum's case last year, had denied her rights under European human rights legislation.
"The school failed to appreciate that by its action it was infringing on the claimant's Article 9 right to manifest her religion," said Judge Scott Baker. Shabina Begum started at Denbigh High School in Luton, north of London, in Sept 2000, and at first wore a shalwar kameez which school rules allowed. But as her interest in Islam deepened, she returned in Sept 2002 with a jilbab and was told to go home and change. -Reuters
With Best Wishes,
Proud Member of friend_dot_com
Join Me here