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Ofsted Policy: Girls in Primary Schools to Be Questioned About Hijab

by in World on 20th November, 2017

What’s happened?

Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools made a shocking announcement this weekend where a policy will see Muslim girls who wear the hijab to primary school, questioned why they wear it by Ofsted Inspectors. The reasons will be reflected in the school’s final reports.

The move has apparently been taken as there are ‘concerns’ that girls are being forced. Amanda Spielman also said

“creating an environment where Muslim children are expected to wear the headscarf could be interpreted as sexualisation of young girls”

Many women we have spoken to are aghast at the recent policy, and specifically in relation to the reasoning about the sexualisation of young girls. Others have taken to looking at when a young girl/woman should religiously start wearing the hijab.

What have the Muslim Council of Britain said?

“If true, the proposals challenges the very British values of religious freedom that this country cherishes.”

Secretary General Harun Khan, responded:

“It is deeply worrying that Ofsted has announced it will be specifically targeting and quizzing young Muslim girls who choose to wear the headscarf. It sends a clear message to all British women who adopt this that they are second class citizens, that while they are free to wear the headscarf, the establishment would prefer that they do not. The many British Muslims who choose to wear the headscarf have done extremely well in education and are breaking glass ceilings.”

– Muslim Council of Britain

What do you think?

We took to social media to find out what the Muslim community think and here’s what Hanan Issa had to say on the matter:

Do you think Ofsted are right to do this to young Muslim girls?

Personally, I like the idea of young girls being asked as it will hopefully encourage them to question themselves as to why they are wearing it. It will, inevitably lead to some girls removing it, but I am confident it will embolden many girls to seek out the true meaning and reasoning behind hijab. My only issue is with the problematic past of Ofsted which appears to prefer misunderstanding and undermining Islamic practises rather than learning about and engaging with them. Finally, they are simply asking girls why they wear it, not telling them to remove it, so I think we need to reserve too much judgement at this stage.

What impact do you think this will have in and out of the Muslim community?

I can only see a thorough exploration of the reasoning behind hijab and hope that this critical questioning will extend to the entire Muslim sphere. Questioning why we do something is healthy and will hopefully only strengthen girls who wish to wear the hijab. I think it will confront Muslim communities with some ugly truths, i.e. that not enough is done to support girls on the cusp of making such an important decision and help them feel informed about adopting the hijab.

We know that it is more than simply a piece of cloth on our heads and I hope this will prompt us to re-discover a truer interpretation of the practise and stop forcing girls to do it out of shame or culture or a misguided approach to our religion.

It may embolden certain factions who are inclined to discriminate against Muslims. However, I also think that it will bring to the fore the plethora of positive reasons women and girls choose to wear the hijab. Allowing girls screen time to explain their reasons will hopefully be positive da’wah. Personally, I am tired of the focus being on hijab and my concern is that it will begin to unearth a whole host of tired debates and arguments when discussing the hijab in general.

It is set to become a policy without consultation, what do you feel and think about the move?

I think it demonstrated that Muslims really are viewed as the lowest common denominator and perpetuates the tired stereotype that muslim Women/ girls need saving from our own religion.

Once again we have people trying to police Muslim women/ girls’ dress and that is very concerning. When women’s issues in a range of areas are being questioned and debated it seems regressive to once again suggest to a girl what she can or cannot wear. Further comments: Hijab is a very personal obligation. You will find people have as many individual reasons for why they wear it as there are factions of Islam. Some wear it as an obligation, some wear it to please others, some wear it as a cultural or political tradition etc. Regardless of the why it is a heavy practice and needs a mind that will comprehend that decision. Personally, I don’t think primary school-age children should be made to make any life-altering decisions (if it can be helped) hijab included. However, children have a natural, beautiful, organic curiosity and just as my son enjoys pretending to cook or looking after a baby because he has seen elders he loves doing these things, he has also explored wearing a hijab, make-up and jewellery. Why any child should be told they HAVE TO or CANNOT express this healthy curiosity in this harmless way is beyond me… Neither side should be enforcing their opinions of hijab on primary School age girls.

Here’s what one mum thinks:

Other opinions reflect how dangerous the policy and move is.

Amaliah Writes

Amaliah Writes

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