School kicks kids out over Muslim headgear

2013-01-23 10:30
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Cape Town - Two siblings have been traumatised after apparently being kicked out of a Cape Town school for wearing traditional Muslim headgear, as “it wasn’t part of the school uniform”, a report said on Wednesday.

Sakeenah Dramat, 16, and her brother Bilaal, 13, started at Eben Dönges high school last Wednesday, where teachers apparently asked them during the course of the day to remove their headscarf and fez respectively, Die Burger reported.

The girl refused, and her parents were summoned.

The siblings' mother, Nabila, said that during an interview at the school last year, they were told that the children could wear their headgear, provided that it was in school colours.

A teacher also said that the children could go to mosque on a Friday. Nabila added that her children had been left “degraded and traumatised”.

Sakeenah said that a teacher had initially asked her whether she wasn’t hot (wearing her scarf).“I said no, I’m used to it.”

She was later called and taken into another classroom where she was told to remove the scarf as it wasn’t part of the school uniform. “I refused, and asked that they contact my parents.”

Bilaal, who suffers from a nervous condition, “didn’t want to make trouble” and took off his fez.

Constitutionally speaking

According to Nabila, following a discussion with her and her husband, school principal Wilfred Taylor refused to allow the children to attend school if they wore the headgear.

She was advised by the Western Cape Education Department to take the children to school the following Monday in any case.

The mother then said she watched as her son was taken out of a school line. Both children are currently at home.

According to the Constitution, schools cannot prohibit the wearing of certain items such as yarmulkes or headscarves if these items are part of pupils’ religious practice.

The education department says on its website: “Male learners requesting to keep a beard as part of a religious practice may be required by the school to produce a letter from their religious teacher or organisation substantiating the validity of the request.

“The same substantiation is applicable to those who wish to wear particular attire.”

Read more on:    cape town  |  education  |  religion
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