Non-Muslim students at Islamic school forced to wear headscarves in UK
15 Oct 2006
The hijab: Non-Muslim girls attending an Islamic school will have no choice but to wear headscarves
Female students at a new Islamic school will be made to wear head scarves regardless of their religion, it was revealed yesterday.
The Madani High School in Leicester will be required by law to accept 10 per cent of its 600 pupils from a non-Muslim background.
But girls who are not Muslim will still have to abide by a rule insisting all female pupils cover their heads as part of the uniform.
Assistant principal Zainab Elgaziari said he did not regard the demand as a problem - despite the ongoing row over Muslim women`s veils.
He said: `I can`t see why if a student wears a head scarf it should be an issue. It`s the same as a shirt or tie - it`s just part of our uniform.
`We will welcome students of other faiths. Indeed, there will be a quota set down by the Government, and we will abide by these rules.
`When you go to any school you know what the uniform will be. Like any school, we will have one - and in our case it will include a head scarf.`
The secondary school, a voluntary-aided state academy, will replace the city`s existing Islamic Academy when it opens next September.
Yesterday Leicester City Council said it did not believe the scarves would deter non-Muslim parents from sending children to the school.
Education spokesman Hussein Suleman, who is also a member of the school`s temporary governing body, said: `We have to find a balance.
`Governors have to take into account the fact that 10 per cent can be of a non-Muslim background and use discretion where appropriate.
`At the same time, parents have a right to send or not send their children to this school. I hope discretion will be used if there are any disagreements.`
The school, which is not expected to make boys cover their heads, was also backed by Suleman Nagdi, of the Federation of Muslim Organisations.
He said: `All Islamic schools have certain criteria for school uniform. I can`t see anything different about the criteria they are setting in this instance.`