UK minister supports ban on wearing of hijab in schools

Vastavam web: An Indian-origin school principal, who was forced to withdraw a ban on wearing of hijab by young girls after vitriolic abuse on social media, today received crucial support of a UK minister who said bullying or intimidation of school staff was completely unacceptable.Lord Theodore Agnew, Minister for schools systems, faith and counter-extremism in education, also said that schools in the country were completely within their right to make decisions on how to run their institutions in the best interests of their pupils.A governor at the school, Arif Qawi, resigned amid the stiff opposition and had urged the UK government to spell out school uniform policies more clearly.

The minister also threw his support behind schools in the country that want to impose a ban on wearing of hijab or religious fasting by very young pupils.
“They are completely within their right to make decisions on how to run their schools in the best interests of their pupils in line with the law and in discussion with parents, of course and we back their right to do so,” Agnew wrote in ‘The Times’ in reference to Lall.The minister responsible for counter-extremism in the Department for Education said the government would not allow a “culture of fear and intimidation to pass through the school gates” and that any opposition to decisions by a school’s governing body should manifest itself in the form of sensible, informed discussion and not hateful online reaction.

Earlier this month, the UK’s independent schools watchdog the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) had also came out in support of the school’s right to set its own uniform policy.Under the UK s Department for Education guidelines, uniform policy is a matter for individual head-teachers and their governing bodies. But Agnew offered the government’s support to individual schools that may find themselves in a bind.”We want to do all we can to help schools on sensitive issues, such as those thrown up by this case, and we will be working closely with school leaders and sector organisations on how we can support them,” the minister said.