Muslim women in Spain battle headscarf discrimination

'For me, the headscarf is religious. The Quran obliges women to cover their head,' says one headscarf activist

Muslim women in Spain battle headscarf discrimination

World Bulletin / News Desk

During the same week as headscarves and Muslim fashion made a stunning debut on the catwalks of New York Fashion Week, women in Spain choosing to don headscarves saw a small victory of their own.

Takwa Rejeb, 22, a vibrant tourism student, made headlines across the country when she denounced a school in Valencia, on Spain’s eastern coast, for prohibiting her from wearing a headscarf.

“I couldn’t find my class so I went to the principal of the school, who was there, and he told me my classes were in the afternoon. Then he said, ‘Just so you know, you won’t be able to study with that,’ and I asked, ‘With what?’ and he said, ‘With that headscarf,’” Rejeb told the media last Friday.

Even though the school, Benlliure High School, told her there had been three other cases of girls not being allowed to study with headscarves, she felt it was a violation of her rights. Instead of taking it off or going to a different school, she decided to challenge the ban.

Together with a lawyer from SOS Racismo, an umbrella organization of anti-racist groups, she brought the case to the Valencia Education Department. Valencian authorities originally told Spanish daily El Pais that it is up to the school to decide on the dress code.

Benlliure’s principal said the rule was “reasonable and widely accepted” by students, citing reasons of “homogeneity and health” to justify the ban on all headgear, according to El Pais.

However, in a quick about-face, the Valencian government announced on Monday it would “guarantee the right to education” for the student. On Thursday, a Valencian government official told El Pais the region would guarantee that headscarves will be allowed in any institution that is funded by the Valencian government.

 

Last Mod: 22 Eylül 2016, 12:20
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