The Hijab in Education - Students' Rights and School Policies

The Hijab in Education Students Rights and School Policies

In recent times, the topic of the hijab in education has become an important issue. While there are some schools in the United States that do not allow the students to wear the hijab, it is important to understand that not all school policies are based on religious grounds. There are many other countries where women are allowed to wear the hijab in the classroom. For instance, there are many universities in India and Indonesia that have made it a point to allow the students to wear the hijab. However, there are also some schools in Saudi Arabia and Iran that have banned the wearing of the hijab.


Indonesia

Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country, and the government is increasingly concerned about religious intolerance. A recent spate of incidents involving young women in Indonesia's public schools has brought the issue to a head. This is a situation that requires urgent attention.

A new study by Human Rights Watch has found that there is a plethora of instances in which women are being bullied for wearing the hijab. These incidents, dubbed as "jilbab bullying," can lead to anxiety and depression. The issue has also led to some female teachers quitting their jobs.

In the past few years, the Indonesian government has made some attempts to address this issue. It has issued a ministerial decree on the use of religious garb in schools.

But critics argue that the regulation is intolerant of religious minorities. Several provinces still make it compulsory to wear a jilbab, although the government has ruled it out of public schools.

Recently, a student in a Padang government school was forced to wear the hijab in class. Her mother complained to the ministry of education and culture, but the school administration denied her daughter's request. Afterwards, she published an open letter urging the school to change the policy.

Since then, the case has gone viral on social media. In February of this year, a 16-year-old girl was confined for an hour in a school toilet because she refused to wear the hijab. After video of the incident went viral, school officials apologized.

However, the Indonesian government has not taken steps to prevent more incidents from happening. The government should take action to protect the rights of women.


Iran

The Islamic Republic's mandatory hijab policy has been a source of controversy for decades. It is also one of the most fundamental elements of Islamist regimes in Iran. However, women are taking to the streets in recent months, challenging the clerical authorities and demanding changes to the rules.

One of the key protests is the removal of the compulsory hijab. While this is not a new phenomenon, the Iranian government has tried to clamp down on the demonstrations, arresting journalists and other individuals. But these efforts have not stopped the protests. Several videos show women of all ages taking to the streets to demonstrate their opposition.

"Women, Life, Freedom" is the slogan of the protests. This phrase originated with Kurdish militants and evokes a vision of an equal society. A recent poll shows that nearly 84 percent of Iranians oppose the compulsory hijab.

During the post-revolutionary period, many liberal and republican figures attempted to undermine the requirement to wear the Islamic head scarf. However, when the Iran-Iraq war broke out, the requirement to wear the veil came to the forefront. Ultimately, the veil became a symbol of the new post-revolution Islamic Republic.

In the past several years, Iranian women have been arrested, forced to wear the hijab and punished for refusing to comply. Women have even been publicly executed. These incidents are evidence that the regime in Iran is failing to address its most basic responsibilities.

Another example of an act that symbolizes the demand for change was the death of 22-year-old Iranian activist Mahsa Amini. Her death sparked protests in Kurdish-populated north-western Iran. According to her family, police beat her and banged her head against a vehicle. She was later transferred to a hospital because of internal bleeding.


Saudi Arabia

Women in Saudi Arabia are not required to wear the hijab in public. But, they must maintain a modest appearance and keep their face covered in male-free facilities.

There are two universities in the Kingdom that only allow women to study: Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman in Riyadh and Dar Al-Hekma in Jeddah. In addition, female students can study at universities in other Arab nations. However, foreign women are not allowed to be administrators at these universities.

Saudi Arabia has implemented progressive reforms for Muslim women. They include abolishing the Abaya rule for foreign tourists and expatriates. The Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also announced that the hijab is not mandatory in public.

Abaya is a loose cloak that is worn by women in some Muslim-majority countries. Traditionally, abayas are black but are now available in a wide range of colors.

The Education and Training Evaluation Commission (ETEC) is an organization that is responsible for evaluating educational systems in Saudi Arabia. It also issues guidelines on the dress code for schools.

According to ETEC, girls must wear the school uniform during exams. If they choose to wear the abaya instead, they must follow the dress code and public decency regulations. Those who violate the rules are questioned or expelled.

While the Abaya was previously mandatory in Saudi Arabia, this regulation was removed in 2018. Women can now wear the veil in campus and work, but can not wear it in any public setting.

Some argue that adherence to the hijab restricts women's education. In some cases, the hijab is a relic of an oppressive era.


India

In India, a Muslim girl is not allowed to wear the hijab inside a classroom. This has triggered protests in several Indian states. It is also being closely watched internationally as a test of religious freedom.

A government-run school in Udupi district of Karnataka barred students wearing hijabs from entering the classroom. The decision sparked protests by Hindu students and counterprotests by Muslim students.

On Tuesday, a Karnataka high court ruled in favour of the state government's hijab ban. However, the judgment was later questioned by a larger bench of justices. Those opposed to the decision said it was a violation of the fundamental right to education.

Some Hindu and right-wing activists protested against the ban. They said a saffron scarf - a symbol of Hinduism - should be worn by teachers and students in schools. During a demonstration outside the campus of Mahatma Gandhi Memorial college in a religiously sensitive area of Karnataka, a young Muslim woman stood up to the activists. She asserted that wearing the hijab was an integral part of being a Muslim girl.

Despite the split verdict, the Karnataka education minister says the ban will remain in place. He also hopes that a larger bench will rule in favor of the ban.

A Hindu nationalist government in the state defended the ban as a means to promote discipline. However, some rights advocates have warned that it may raise Islamophobia.

The order cited Islamic religious texts to support its argument. It also said the ban did not make someone a sinner if they didn't wear the hijab.

Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia wrote the opinion in simple language. His words were interpreted by lawyer Gautam Bhatia.


Massachusetts

The hijab in education in Massachusetts has come under scrutiny recently. An eighth grade student at a local charter school was sent home for wearing a headscarf. Several parents of black students have complained about the policy.

Previously, the school had gotten into trouble for its hair extensions ban. However, after intense criticism, the policy was dropped.

A similar incident occurred in Malden, Massachusetts, last week. An eighth-grade student at Mystic Valley Regional Charter School was written up for wearing a head scarf. After receiving a letter stating that the head scarf was in violation of the dress code, the student's family began an online campaign.

According to the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School, the hijab in education in Massachusetts is not the first time this has been cited. But, the district admits that the letter was insensitive. It was written as "an opportunity to initiate a dialogue with the family regarding the student's dress code infraction," according to a statement from the superintendent.

According to a study cited by CAIR-Massachusetts, a Muslim advocacy organization, 61 percent of students who were surveyed reported being verbally harassed for their religious beliefs. And 17 percent of students said they had their headscarf tugged at least once.

A Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) representative is working with the family of the student who was cited for wearing a headscarf. They're also investigating the incident in the state. Despite the controversy surrounding the school, the city of Malden, which is seven miles north of Boston, has a very diverse population.

The incident at the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School is just one of the many issues that are roiling the state of Massachusetts. However, the incident is a great chance to highlight cultural competency programs that can be implemented at the school level.