Muslim campaign group calls for end to East Ham school’s hijab ban for under eights
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A Muslim campaign group has demanded an East Ham primary school’s ban on hijabs “should be withdrawn immedately”.
The Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPACUK) has criticised the decision by St Stephen’s, in Whitfield Road, to not allow girls under the age of eight to wear the head covering.
The school’s headteacher, Neena Lall, told the Sunday Times that the changes, which also included asking parents not to make their children fast on school days, had been made to help integrate children into British society.
But Imran Shah, a spokesman for MPACUK, said that he felt the motivation for the ban was “because they fundamentally believe the hijab is at odds with being British and that they think it is a sign of increasing Islamisation”.
He added: “Even without the hijab ban and without stopping kids from fasting in Ramadan, St Stephen’s topped the schools league. Clearly they aren’t hindering kids from achieving.
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“In addition, if it’s about integration, are they going to ban Jewish and Sikh religious wear based on being British?
“Schools have an obligation to ensure their uniform is does not cause a barrier between them and the community. They have done just that and their policy should be withdrawn immediately.”
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Mr Shah’s comments come after a petition calling for the hijab ban to be withdrawn was set up three days ago.
So far, it has attracted more than 13,500 signatures.