Backlash forces UK school to revoke ban on Islamic female veil

The school has been forced to stop its plans to ban students, below the age of eight, from wearing hijabs.

The St Stephen’s Primary School in Newham, east London, had initially declared plans to stop girls, below the age of eight, from wearing hijabs.

NDTV reports that the school has also planned to extend the ban to girls, below the age of 11. These changed after the school received widespread criticism.

The backlash forced St Stephen’s to issue a statement announcing a change of plans.

The statement read: “The school’s uniform policy is based on the health, safety, and welfare of our children. The school has taken the decision to make changes to this policy with immediate effect and this follows on from conversations with our school community."

“We will work with our school community to continue to review this policy going forward in the best interests of our children.”

A note was also posted on the school’s website. It read: “Having spoken to our school community we have… decided to reverse our position with immediate effect.”

Backlash forces chairman to leave

The Sunday Times reports that Arif Qawi, the chair of governors of the school, has resigned.

He reportedly left after receiving hateful messages on social media. These messages targetted him, the school’s Indian-origin principal Neena Lall and the staff in general.

One read: “Now the head-teacher needs to go. Kick her out and force her to wear hijab. Let her see what forcing means.”

Upon his resignation, he told colleagues in an email: “I wish the school continued success and am truly sorry that my actions have caused any harm to the reputation of the fantastic school.”

The Muslim Council of Britain has reacted by saying the ban is discriminatory since the dress of pupils of other faiths were not affected.

The chairman’s resignation was also welcomed by the council.

St Stephen’s Primary School has been rated as "outstanding."

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