Spanish Schools Allow Muslim Hijab

MADRID – A Spanish regional government has overturned a school’s ban on a young Muslim woman wearing a hijab to “guarantee the student’s right to an education”.

“I am very happy that this does not have to remain an issue and that we are seeing changes,” said the student, identified by Europa Press as Takwa Rejeb, reported on Monday, September 19.

The young Muslim woman made headlines last week across Spain after she was told she could not attend her courses at the Institute of Secondary Education (IES) Benlliure in Valencia if she wore her hijab.

The school justified its decision by citing an internal rule which prohibits students from covering their heads while attending classes unless it is for hygiene reasons.

After the 22-year-old protested the rule as discriminatory, the regional Education Ministry announced that it would “guarantee the student’s right to an education and she will be able to attend all of her classes at the centre, wearing the hijab”, according to Europa Press.

“The ultimate goal is to guarantee the educational rights of the student body and it is important to use all types of tools in order to foster coexistence and cultural diversity at Valencian educational centers.”

The ministry added that it had created the role of an equality and coexistence coordinator at each educational facility in Valencia for this academic year.

Jubilant Rejeb said she was very content with the ministry’s decision.

“This is a century of change,” she said.

“The most important thing is to guarantee the rights of all, and that all have the right to study,” she said, adding that her decision to wear the hijab “was not hurting anyone”.

“[Change] begins little by little with each of us adding our little grain of sand.”

According to the Union of Islamic communities (UCIDE), Muslims make up 3.8 percent of the Spanish population, 40 percent are Spanish and the remaining 60 percent are immigrants.

Muslims in Spain are mostly from Morocco although there is a significant presence of Pakistanis and Senegalese Muslims in cities like Barcelona, Valencia and Logrono.