Monday, 11 February 2013

Islamic College of South Australia's West Croydon Campus Hijab Concerns

It is with a little concern I read of the above Islamic school in South Australia and its enforcement on wearing a hijab during and out of school hours. According to reports, teachers have or will be threatened with sacking if they do not comply.

The order, from the school's governing board and chairman Faruk Kahn, contradicts the policy of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils.

AFIC assistant secretary Keysar Trad said the policy was at odds with the national federation, but it was powerless to intervene.

"I'm aware there's a policy at that school with respect to the scarf," Mr Trad said.

"The AFIC policy is not to require any teacher to observe the hijab. In SA, the board itself has decided they want to operate in their way and we are not allowed to interfere in the matter.

"We maintain that staff should dress modestly but not be required by the nature of policy to wear the hijab."

Mr Trad said that matters of unfair dismissal resulting from teachers disobeying the school's hijab policy should be referred to Fair Work Australia.

"It's confusing for our children to see their teachers wearing the scarf in school and then they take it off when they are out shopping and the children see them there," he said.

"It is also a respect thing for our staff. If they are not Muslim they should not be forced to dress as Muslim."

One long-term teacher at the Islamic College of SA said a new school board was now "forcing teachers to put hijabs back on".

Surely Faruk Kahn can't be serious in thinking that non Muslim women should be forced to wear the hijab? If he is truly serious about this, then it is fair to force Muslim women working at non Muslim schools to remove their hijabs. I'll bet Faruk Kahn would be the first to cry foul at this and would make statements of authorities being anti-Muslim.

Given this development, I expect South Australian Education Authorities to ban Muslim women wearing the hijab in non Muslim schools. It's only fair and is exactly the same as what Faruk Khan wants.

I have highlighted a section in blue about students seeing their teachers wearing hijabs in school, and then seeing them not wearing hijabs in supermarkets and other social events. The connotation being made is that it will confuse students. This of course, could be alleviated by TEACHING students that some teachers are non Muslim and it's OK for them not to wear a hijab ... what is wrong with that? What is wrong in teaching the students TOLERANCE and that not everybody is Muslim?

It is my belief that no good will come out of this school policy and will only go to further anti-Muslim sentiment in the community.

Is that what Muslims really want ? Someone who is going to create more of a divide in a community when both sides should be working together to create ONE COMMUNITY?

Do Muslim women in general think Faruk Kahn is doing the right thing in forcing non Muslim women to wear a hijab?

I invite your comments.

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