UK: Islamic dress lawsuit

The House of Lords in Britain ruled in favor of a school's uniform policy. The policy was tested when one student, Shabina Begum, sued the school for the right to wear a jilbab (ie, tunic which covers the arms and legs).

The school, which had at the time 80% Muslim student body devised a uniform that could be worn by all students - Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus.

Mr McManus said that, to try to accommodate all faiths, the school had adopted the shalwar kameez, a sleeveless, smock-like dress worn with tapered trousers and a sweater or shirt to cover the arms. This was worn by Hindus and Sikhs as well as Muslims. A headscarf could also be worn by Muslim girls. "An important attraction for the school was that the kameez was worn by different faith groups and it hoped that would minimise the differences between them," Mr McManus said.

I assume that if any non-immigrant students would attend this school they would be facing some problems as well. In any case, what I find more interesting is Begum's reasoing:

"Unfortunately, the reason for its appeal to the school is the same as one of the objections raised by Miss Begum's advisers, in that it is a dress worn by non-believers and not suitable for that reason."

That is, it is not the modesty of the school uniform that is in question at all. (Though after she changed lawyers, she dropped that claim).

And maybe even more important:

Mr McManus told the law lords that when Miss Begum began school there had been no suggestion that the kameez did not meet the requirements of modesty.

"For two years she wore it without complaint," he said.

But she turned up for the start of a new academic year in September 2002 wearing a jilbab and was sent home to change.


When Mr Moore telephoned Miss Begum's home, her brother told him that he was not prepared to let her attend school unless she wore the jilbab, said Mr McManus.

Or in other words, Begum's brother is forcing her to wear a jilbab. Apparently, he is yet to be taken to court for that.

Source: Telegraph 1, 2, (hat tip, Infidel Bloggers Alliance)

When I wrote the article I did not understand where Begum's parents were in all this story.

The school's supporters had claimed that after Shabina's parents had died, she had come under the undue influence of her brother Shuweb Rahman, a supporter of the radical Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. They also argued that if Shabina was allowed to attend classes wearing jilbab, other pupils would feel under pressure to adopt stricter forms of Islamic dress.

Or in other words: I think the real focus of this story should be how a brother can force his sister to wear a dress that will get her kicked out of the school she prefers going to, all in order to protect the family's "honor".

Source: Wikipedia (English)

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