Muslim Aus girl barred from bus

2010-10-21 10:59

Sydney - A 6-year-old Muslim girl in Australia has been suspended from using her school bus for "bullying" after reacting angrily to being teased about her hijab, or headscarf, a report said.

The Northern Territory News said the girl retaliated by pulling down the trousers of her tormentor, aged seven, after he repeatedly told her to take off her traditional headscarf.

The girl, whose father is an Iranian immigrant, has been banned from the bus for 10 days, meaning she will be unable to make the 60-kilometre round-trip to her school in the northern Outback region.

"She is only 6-years-old. It is a bit harsh," the girl's mother, Lorraine Gerassimopoulos, told the newspaper.

"We would have preferred a warning so we could have sat down and talked about this incident but they are stopping her from going to school."

Bus company Buslink defended the ban, for "bullying and harassment of other passengers", saying it complied with the Northern Territory's code of conduct for school transport.

The little girl said the teasing "made me sad and angry at the same time", explaining her actions.

The incident comes after New South Wales lawmakers in Sydney rejected a bar on the all-encompassing burqa, which was recently banned in France.