School turns away girl for wearing hijab

November 08, 2012 - 4:57:03 am

DOHA: In yet another incident reported in less than two months, a girl student of a foreign private school here was prevented by its administration from entering her class as she was wearing hijab (headscarf).

The girl returned home and informed her father who immediately took up the matter with education sector regulator, the Supreme Education Council (SEC). The Council swung into action and directed the school to let the girl attend school or face the music. A senior SEC official told Qatar News Agency (QNA) that since the foreign private school was violating Qatari laws, it could have even faced closure or takeover by the SEC if it did not reverse its decision.

Preventing a hijab-wearing girl student from entering a school or class is a serious breach of her privacy and an insult of Qatar’s laws, the official was quoted as saying. All foreign private schools must comply or face the music.

To help preserve Qatari traditions and customs is the top priority of the SEC. According to the SEC official, the regulator has urged the parents of students from all foreign schools to cooperate with school managements to help them in turn cooperate with the SEC in its objective to conserve Qatari traditions and customs.

To recall, on September 7 this year, a foreign private school had turned a girl student back from her class after she walked in a hijab on the day the institution reopened after the long summer break. The girl had been a student of the school for three years.

The father of the girl did not bring the matter to the notice of the SEC but a friend of his happened to report it to the SEC on Twitter. A furious SEC immediately contacted the school management and threatened action if it did not fall in line and allowed the hapless girl student to attend her class in hijab.


Media reports of the incident have, meanwhile, triggered sharp reactions from the people on social media forums, including twitter. 
“WE are proud of the SEC for helping conserve our traditions and culture,” said a commentator, while another one giving his name as Dr Sultan Al Dosri said all private schools must respect Qatar’s traditions and customs.
“The SEC should be more strict with private schools,” he added, while yet another commentator said that when people in the Qatari community are so tolerant and respectful towards other cultures, traditions and style or dressing, others should reciprocate and show respect for local culture and customs.
The Peninsula