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 Post subject: Lindsay Balika bans Head scarf for Muslim students
 Post Posted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 8:27 pm 
Lindsay Balika bans Head scarf for Muslim students

Monday, 28 March 2005
By Fouzer Sheriffdeen & F. Sadhira
@ Lanka Muslims

Muslims students at Lindsay Girls School were in for a shock when the Principal of the school banned Muslim students from wearing a traditional headscarf. It is reported that there are over 100 Muslim students in this school.

The Principal during a morning assembly had insisted that in future Muslim students should not wear the ‘Hijab' (headscarf) to school with immediate effect, and that they should in future dress similarly to the Sinhalese students.

Parents of the Muslim Prefects of the schools have expressed their disappointment, saying that the prefect badges of these girls have also been re-possessed. The head of the school, according to students, is discriminating cruelly against Muslim students.

What is surprising is that this is the same Principal who had been very kind and cordial to these students, and who had even headed the school's Islamic day celebrations during the past. The un-solved puzzle within the minds of the students is why this unprecedented change of attitude by the Principal.

According to the circular No. 1995/37 by the Ministry of Education & Higher Education, permitting Muslims students to wear the head scarf and Punjabi at school.

How could the Principal prevent this and take their rights away? parents queried. A parent who had made a written request to the Principal seeking an appointment to discuss this matter was refused a meeting by the Principal, saying that she is not prepared to talk to anybody on her decision.

"The daughter of the person who has written to the Principal has been summoned to the office and warned severely by the principal of serious action, if her father continues writing on the matter," sources told Lanka Muslims.

In the meantime, Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana had brought this matter to the notice of the Chief Minister, Reginald Cooray. A meeting with him is scheduled for tomorrow. When contacted by Lanka Muslims, Mr. Moulana, who sounded furious, said "this is a serious offence, one single person can not make decisions as and ever she or he wants". He also noted that this matter has been brought to the notice of the President.

When contacted, Minister Ferial Ashraff expressed her disappointment with the alleged instruction, but noted that she had not heard of any such order.

"However, I am disappointed if such an instruction has been meted out because I thought that in Sri Lanka we have the democracy to practise all religious and cultural norms," she told Lanka Muslims.

When contacted, JVP Propaganda Secretary, Wimal Weerawansa, said, ‘this is totally un-constitutional, and against the law of the land. An individual cannot make decisions, in this manner. We are against it, we will definitely take steps to stops this.'

SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem said "This is totally against the circulars issued by the Education Ministry on Muslim student's headgear. Some of the schools are making unilateral decisions, even against the laws, because of their religious prejudice.

Earlier the Sri Lankan Supreme Court also upheld a fundamental rights case by a Bora community girl, stating, religious rights cannot not be prevented from being practiced. Hakeem also said that the SLMC will take the matter up in Parliament, when Parliament resumes next week. "Similar cases are reported from the Plantation Schools, very often, stopping Muslims girls wearing the Hijab. Despite repeated lobbying and appeals by us and various other concerned parties, this continues because of the political powers in the area" added Hakeem. He pointed out that the issue has to be settled once and forever, by the Ministry of Education.

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