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In the Sunday Times on 19 November 2017, the Ofsted Chief Inspector of Schools Amanda Spielman is quoted to have said that “inspectors will talk to girls who wear such garments [the hijab] to ascertain why they do so in the school”, after meeting a group of campaigners and activists. Responding the Muslim Council of Britain issued a statement,

“It is deeply worrying that Ofsted has announced it will be specifically targeting and quizzing young Muslim girls who choose to wear the headscarf. 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. The many British Muslims who choose to wear the headscarf have done extremely well in education and are breaking glass ceilings.

It is disappointing that this is becoming policy without even engaging with a diverse set of mainstream Muslim voices on the topic.

“Such an approach risks being both counter-productive and undermining the very British values it claims to promote. One can only hope that this wrong-headed approach will be swiftly reversed, and the reasonable and sincere choices of young children and their parents – even if they are Muslim – will not be dismissed so easily.”

 

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