(AhlulBayt News Agency) - School inspectors in Britain have been told to interrogate Muslim primary school girls if they are wearing a hijab or similar headscarf.
Issuing the draconian order, the head of the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) and the chief inspector of schools, Amanda Spielman, claimed the move is meant to tackle situations in which wearing a hijab “could be interpreted as sexualisation” of school children.
The announcement follows a meeting last week between Spielman and campaigners against the hijab in schools.
Spielman met various anti-hijab campaigners after a survey by British newspaper Sunday Times suggested that nearly a fifth of 800 state primary schools, in 11 regions of England list the hijab as part of their uniform policy, mostly as an optional item.
However, the Muslim Council of Britain secretary-general, Harun Khan, responded to the move.
“It is deeply worrying that Ofsted has announced it will be specifically targeting and quizzing young Muslim girls who choose to wear the headscarf,” he said.
“It sends a clear message to all British women who adopt this that they are second-class citizens that while they are free to wear the headscarf, the establishment would prefer that they do not,” Khan said.
“It is disappointing that this is becoming policy without even engaging with a diverse set of mainstream Muslim voices on the topic,” he added.
Khan urged “any parent or member of the public who has a concern about fundamentalist groups influencing school policy, or breaching equality law to make a complaint to the school.”
“If schools do not act on these complaints they can be made to Ofsted directly,” he said.
Muslims, who make up 4.4 percent of Britain’s population, are the largest and fastest-growing minority faith group.