In Karnataka state which bans hijab in schools, a hijab-wearing Muslim student has emerged second in the Pre-University (PU) Examinations, proving that her religious identity is never an obstacle to securing a top rank.
“I am very excited. I checked my percentage which was 91.5%, I informed my relatives,” Ilham told reporters, The Kashmir Monitor reported.
“After some time, I started getting calls from my cousins saying my name is coming in the news. At that moment I realized that I got a rank. Till then I was unaware.”
Ilham, whose St Aloysius PU College from Mangalore in Dakshina Karnataka doesn’t ban the hijab, scored 597 out of 600.
Her father, Mohammed Rafiq, used to work in the Gulf as an IT employee. Her mother Moizatul Kubra is a housewife.
Now, the young girl hopes to finish her studies and pursue a career in BSc in Clinical Psychology.
#Ilham, a Science Student from St Aloysius college Scored 597 marks in Class 12th holding the 2nd Rank in the state.
— Hate Detector 🔍 (@HateDetectors) June 20, 2022
Ilham’s success come amidst controversy surrounding hijab after the southern state of Karnataka banned hijab.
Muslim students in Karnataka have been protesting the ban on hijab in educational institutions. Protesters say the Islamophobic move of the Karnataka government violates their religious freedom guaranteed under India’s constitution.
Critics of the ban say it is another way of marginalizing a community that accounts for about 13% of Hindu-majority India’s 1.35 billion people.
The Karnataka High Court had also upheld the ban in March this year, saying that wearing hijabs was not essential under Islam.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not just a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.