Yes, here we go again! This case, highlighted a few days ago, might have turned into another Shabina Begum case, but unfortunately, the school lacks the wherewithal to fight the case without the council’s help.
I am not going to say that the 12-year old in question does not have the right to wear her Niqab – she has every right to wear it (especially in this case since she chose to wear it on her own accord). Her religion demands it (though there is still a debate whether it is obligatory to wear or not) and so she must. Everybody must have complete autonomy over what he or she does with regard to his/her religion. Right? It is the only sphere in life where a person can say he/she enjoys his freedom. Yes, it is a religious symbol for her and any basis of exclusion on this is totally unlawful, but Muslims also must understand that they are in a country where Islam is not the major religion and they are bound to face such threats. And, at times, in order to practice their religion to their best ability it would be advantageous for them to reside in places where it is practiced fully. The British are more than generous to have allowed us to practice our religion – despite the ongoing disputes.
As for the British public, we know that this issue of wearing the Niqab provokes a wide spectrum of opinions and resentment alike. All the British public keep reiterating is the same old line “If Muslims want to live in our country, then they must learn our language and adopt our cultures”. But think about this for a moment. Many British people, or westerners for that matter, live in the Middle East and other Muslim countries. Now wouldn’t they take umbrage if the governments of those countries imposed the full Hijab clothing and the Niqab upon their women and daughters in the face of the sweltering heat?
“If you wish to live in our country, then you must learn our language and fully clothe yourselves!” What if that was the case?