EAST HAM – A British Muslim group has launched a new petition to challenge an East Ham school’s decision to ban hijab and Ramadan fasting for girls under the age of eight.
Imran Shah, a spokesman for the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPACUK), said that he felt the motivation for the ban was “because they fundamentally believe the hijab is at odds with being British and that they think it is a sign of increasing Islamization,” Newham Recorder reported Wednesday.
“Even without the hijab ban and without stopping kids from fasting in Ramadan, St Stephen’s topped the schools league. Clearly, they aren’t hindering kids from achieving.”
Earlier this week, St Stephen’s school in Whitfield Road, issued a decision banning girls under the age of eight to wear the hijab.
The school’s headteacher, Neena Lall, said that the changes, which also included asking parents not to make their children fast on school days, had been made to help integrate children into British society.
Shah challenged this claim, confirming that hijab does not prevent integration of British Muslim students.
“In addition, if it’s about integration, are they going to ban Jewish and Sikh religious wear based on being British?
“Schools have an obligation to ensure their uniform does not cause a barrier between them and the community. They have done just that and their policy should be withdrawn immediately.”
His comments come after a petition calling for the hijab ban to be withdrawn was set up three days ago.
So far, the petition has attracted more than 13,500 signatures.