U.S. School District Changes Dress Code To Allow Hijab
Nashala can now attend classes with her Hijab
WASHINGTON , May 20 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) – The Muskogee Public School District in Oklahoma will change its dress code to allow a 12-year-old Muslim girl to wear Hijab after a settlement announced by the Justice Department on Wednesday, May 20.
“This settlement reaffirms the principle that public schools cannot require students to check their faith at the schoolhouse door,” Alexander Acosta, assistant attorney general for civil rights, was quoted as saying by the CNN.
The government had filed a court complaint in March on behalf of Nashala Hearn, a sixth-grade student in Muskogee ‘s Benjamin Franklin Science Academy .
The girl was suspended twice by the Muskogee Public School District for wearing Hijab twice last year.
The girl and her family said she wore the Hijab as part of her observance of Islam.
Muslim scholars maintain that Hijab is definitely established as obligatory dress code in the Islamic Shariaa.
The school officials claimed the girl’s clothing violated a dress code banning hats and other head coverings.
The justice department charged the district with religious discrimination.
“Such intolerance is un-American, and it is morally despicable,” Acosta countered.
“This goes to a broader concern where instances of bias or hate against Muslim Americans will not be tolerated,” said Acosta
The agreement requires the district to implement a training program for all teachers and administrators regarding the amended dress code, publicize the revised policy to students and parents and certify its compliance.
Initial objections were raised by school officials on September 11, 2003 ; exactly two years after the 9-11 attacks, even though Hearn had worn the Hijab for several weeks, Acosta told reporters.
The officials, he said, told her that other students were “frightened” by the Hijab.
“This goes to a broader concern where instances of bias or hate against Muslim Americans will not be tolerated,” Reuters quoted Acosta as saying.
“Fear does not justify violating someone’s religious liberties,” he averred.
The Justice Department received complains for discrimination and hate crimes brought by Arab-Americans and other Muslims after September 11 attacks.
The ninth annual Muslim civil rights report “Unpatriotic Acts,” issued on May 2004 by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), showed an unprecedented increase of 70 percent of anti-Muslim violence over the previous year.
The controversy over the issue of Hijab wearing has not been restricted to the United States .
The French Senate approved on Wednesday, March 3, by a large majority a bill banning hijab in state schools despite mass protests by the five-million-estimated Muslims and human rights groups.
The U.S. officials objected, with one Congressman threatening in February that he would draft resolution condemning the law.
Some 50 other senators signed a letter sent to the French ambassador to express their concerns over the ban.