New policy at Madani High School requires non-Muslim girls to wear hijabs

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

A woman wearing a hijab in Cairo

The hijab, or "Muslim headscarf", is an item of clothing which is regarded by some Muslims as "compulsory" for women to wear. But for the first time in Britain, a Muslim school has declared that all girl students, including non-Muslims, will be required to wear the hijab.

Ten-percent of places at the Madani High School, a new school, will be allocated to students who are not of the Islamic faith, meaning that there will be 60 places for non-Muslim girls, who will all be expected to wear the headscarf.

The school asserts that it may require the headscarf as part of the uniform. The Commission for Racial Equality responded that the school should consider all pupils when putting together a uniform policy.

Shadow education secretary David Willetts said the move would "harm hopes of integrating communities and drive non-Muslims away".

Earlier this month Jack Straw called upon Muslim women not to wear the veil (know as a Burqa or Niqab) when meeting with MPs, saying its makes relations between different communities more difficult.

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