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Saturday, 24 April 2010

Spain: National Federation of Muslims will take legal action against the school on Najwa' hijab affair

Mohamed Mahla and his daughter Najwa
El Mundo:
The secretary of the Federation of Muslims in Spain, Yusuf Fernandez, announced that they will complain to the Constitutional Court about the decision the Camilo Jose Cela Institute of Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid) took of expelling the young Muslims away from school for wearing the hijab in class. They consider this poses a "clear case of 'Islamophobia".
Fernandez said that this case "can be won in court" because the rejection of the child by the school board of the institute is an "aberration" that "violates and tramples" the rights recognized by the Constitution. "It is a rule that discriminates and that it lacks any legal validity," he argued.
"There is no negotiation because we are talking about a basic right. This is a battle for freedom of the Muslims and the Spanish people in general. We can not live in a state that violates human rights for free. We are undertaking this battle until the end of the Constitutional Court"he said.
In this regard, he hoped that the young Nawja wins the case and get that "triumph of freedom" that any citizen could be free to profess their religion and "dress as it sees fit". The State must not be allowed to deny a central manifestation of religious freedom, not to Catholics or anyone, he scolded.
Now he is champion of Catholics' rights. Well, just let me recover from my surprise.

So veil is a "central manifestation of religious freedom". Fernández should explain in the same defiant tone what is its meaning. And why it's not only a "cultural" thing, something that other politicians, like Leire Pajín, Secretary General of the Socialists, have claimed to be its right interpretation.

It's interesting that there was an express regulation forbidding anyone, be it Muslim or non-Muslim, to dress with the head covered. So where is the "trampling of her rights"? She has been treated as any other student!!

He went on further to answer Equality Minister Bibiana Aido, who said yesterday that she doesn't like any kind of veil. "I don't mind whether this person likes it or not. If they don't like others to exercise their rights, that's their problem", he said.
On the other hand, regarding the opinion of the president of the Community of Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre, leaving the decision of expulsion of the young in the hands of the Board of Education school, Fernandez said that "it is a wrong decision" because the Constitution "protects" a Nawja.
It also protects the autonomy of each school.
Finally, said he is handling the complaint and its legal services and seek to "all Muslim organizations in Spain" to join these legal actions.
 ABC runs an opinion piece on the subject titled "The thousand faces of Hijab":
For some it is a sign of forced submission of women in a backward culture. For others it is a free and safe expression of faith who someone wants to exhibit. And even some people describe it as a purely social outfit and totally detached from religion. The hijab means so many different things. (It has so important a meaning) the piece of cloth to Malha Najwa, the teenager and resident of Pozuelo, who feels so attached to forego her schooling. There are many faces of a garment around Europe which is waging a virulent ideological battle. Now the battle has come to Spain.
A minor, with its commitment to assist your school with the "hijab" although the school regulations prohibiting head coverings, has stirred the educational community and the general public, reopening a debate that is still pending in Spain resolution. While in other countries, like France, the law prohibits the display of the controversial garment in the classroom, in Spain, the legal vacuum left the decision on this difficult issue to the governing bodies of schools. Moreover, as happens usually in subjects like this one, it is accompanied by a media pressure that blurs the school life.
The IES Camilo José Cela, in which is registered Najwa, has chosen to enforce the rules and separate her from the rest of his classmates while she doesn't change her attitude. For the child's environment this is an intolerable prejudice to her right to education and religious freedom.
But the question that in the few Western media made and yet remains open within the bosom of Islam really is whether the "hijab" has the religious aspect attributed to the environment of the child in the controversy. For Laure Rodriguez of the Union of Muslim Women in Spain, the scarf is just "a piece of personal choice of the woman who has no religious nature." However, Alilech Mohamed Said, a friend of Najwa's father and imam in the mosque of Pozuelo, argues that "it is a religious practice, an obligation for women, resulting from the rules of their religion", but insists that Islam is embraced a voluntary decision.
Remember that Najwa's father is also an imam at that mosque? Voluntary decision to wear the scarf, hah! As this guy says, it is compulsory for Muslim women to wear it. Is that true? Maybe not, but sincerely who would have had more influence on this teenager: some far away boss of a "Unión of Muslim Women in Spain" or his father's friend and co-imam and the mosque?

La Razón:
The ball is now on the roof of the Malha family. Finally, it will be Najaw's parents (...) who will decide on the academic future of the 16-year-old girl. At this moment the situation is paralyzed. On Tuesday, the school Board of Education refused to amend its rules to allow the young to receive her classes with the Islamic headscarf over her hair. Nawja has frequently expressed its intention to continue with the "hijab" in the classroom and the only solution now is to transfer her to another center in the same locality, Pozuelo de Alarcón, who did allow their students to wear the Muslim headscarf .
If Nawja does not give up and lets her veil outside the classroom, she can not return to school to completed all the compulsory secondary education so far. Following the decision of the School Council, the center's director informed Mohamed Malha that his daughter, with her handkerchief, can not enter into any classroom and that the regulation stops them. Yesterday was the Department of Education of the Community of Madrid, directed by Lucia Figar, who rejected an appeal made by girl's father in the early days she spent away from their classes in the school library.
As of April 9 entered in the register of the Ministry a letter from Mohamed Malha in which it claims "in essence, the precautionary suspension of the warning sanction" and asks for "his daughter to complete the course in the center," as it says in the document rejecting the petition by the Education's Department.
The center has invoked Article 32 of its internal rules and Jose Macias, director of the West Area Planning of the Education's Department, says in the document that the director of the institute 'rules correctly applied and fully respected the procedure established to discipline students". In addition, it plays the same Article of Rules of Procedure which states that "inside the building is not allowed to use caps or any other garment that covers the head." His appeal has not yielded the expected results and now provides family legal action to get the teenager to wear her headscarf in the IES Camilo José Cela. So far, according to Mohamed Said Aliech (remember? the imam who says that the veil is a religious obligation for women), a spokesman for the Malha, they haven't made up their mind about changing her of school or forcing her to remove her veil.
They are been advised to launch an education havoc based on two motives: first, they want to "ask the responsibility of the director, who decided to isolate the student for twenty days", the second appeal against the decision of the School Board until the direction's body of the school approves the change in its rules and allow Nawja Malha attend class with their "hijab" post.
For now, because of her "poor health", the girl's parents want to have her away of everything. They don't want her to be more fagile after suffering an anxiety attack on Monday when she learned that the School Board did not intend to make an exception for her (that's right, it's an EXCEPTION what she is asking for, not to be recognised as equal to her classmates). Moreover, according to his father, she has depressed since her away from their peers (remember she said she wanted to wear the hijab "whatever the outcome"?). The media pressure is making her health worse.
Although Aliech ("the veil is compulsory" imam) said the Malha's do not want to "harm the child and their basic rights" the fact is that unless they take matters into hands, Najwa will not be able to finish the course. Either she leaves the IES Camilo José Cela or she goes without a scarf. These are the two options that the family must urgently resolve given the approaching end of the school year, which will occur in less than two months.
In this same situation are the families of the friends of Nawja. "They're afraid, they do not want to create problems with their school mates," said Hadir Zerrad yesterday, the father of one of the young Muslim Eisner Institute of Pozuelo de Alarcón.
Fatima, Manar and Latifa decided to go yesterday without their "hijab" in the center. They had all week going to school with her hair covered with scarves as a sign of support for her friend, who, like them, Spanish is of Muslim origin.
Yesterday, about twenty past eight in the morning, appeared bare-headed (this is where I just got it wrong: they didn't actually remove their hijab when entering school but the school removed them from their classes to a common hall yes, they wear the hijab outside school and they remove it when entering their classroom via). The reason for this decision, as explained Zerrad quoted by Ep, was the emergence of the National Democracy stickers on the front of the school.
The stickers, which were quickly withdrawn by the makers of the institute and several students, railed against the "Islamization" of Spain. "The thing already goes wrong ... If they were accompanied, but girls are alone and do not want anything to happen to them, "said Zerrad. He has deterred her daughter to wear the "hiyab" to avoid having problems like Nawja.
So they don't end up wearing hte hijab, because it's the law, but rather because some far-righters put some stickers in their school against the Islamization of Spain. They only understand threats and violence, not the fulfillment of the law. And this people claim to be integrated?

I'm astonished...

16-year-old removed from school for wearing the hijab.
School confirms hijab's prohibition.
Opinions on Najwa's hijab.
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