Just when I was thinking I hadn’t seen much hysteria around Muslims in the media recently, the argument around the hijab flared up again. Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman came out in support of a headteacher who banned young Muslim girls from wearing the hijab at school. Minority communities feel alternately ignored and targeted by Ofsted.
Fear and distrust is pervasive and well founded – only this week police confirmed that there were 1,487 crimes with a hate element at or near schools and colleges in the past two years.
Spielman’s use of the term “British values” in her speech to a Church of England schools conference is likely to put people’s backs up further. This isn’t a term that I would associate with someone who cares about cohesion. Her comments about Muslims using “education institutions, legal and illegal, to narrow young people’s horizons, to isolate and segregate, and in the worst cases to indoctrinate impressionable minds with extremist ideology” seem more likely to divide people than bring them together.
But it would be dangerous to respond to Spielman’s provocation by defending the idea that children should be allowed to wear headscarves. I feel uncomfortable every time I see well-meaning people defending parents’ right to send young girls to school wearing the hijab. [522 comments]
[TOP RATED COMMENT 845 votes] We are in practice a secular society in which a segment of the population is growing numerically and trying to cement an increasingly unassimilable religious identity, bolstered by law (sharia councils) and education. I think we should politely push back.
[2ND 736] Wear hijab if you think it shows your modesty (and sluttiness of others by implication)
I’ll keep saying it shows backwardness and misoginy of idiotic cult formed by medieval illiterate warlord.
[3RD 649] Religion should be controlled like tobacco and alcohol and not be available to children. All religion is just a bunch of misogynistic fairy tales designed to control people.
[4TH 571] It is not about defending “British values” it is defending modern civilization.
Religious cover of women is an affront to modernity. [Guardian Cif] Read more