Muslim Community Lobby Ireland is an independent organization established 1st May 2007. Its motto is TO USE THE VOTE RIGHTLY AND TO RAISE THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY AWARNESS WITH THEIR RIGHTS AND TO PROMOTE TOLERANCE AND UNDERSTANDING OF OTHER EXISTING GROUPS. لترشيد استعمال الصوت الانتخابي ولتوعية وتعريف المسلمين بحقوقهم في ايرلندا وان يعيشوا بتفهم للواقع وللجماعات الاخرى الموجودة على الساحة

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Policy U-turn on hijab in Irish schools تراجع وزارة التعليم الايرلندية بالنسبة للحجاب

The Department of Education outlined its policy on students wearing hijab in a letter to a Dublin school as long ago as 2005. It told a Dublin teacher that she should allow a student to wear the hijab, a Muslim headscarf covering the head but not the face, during PE.
وزارة التعليم الايرلندية تظهر
قرارها الصادر في سنة الفين وخمسة بالسماح للحجاب غطاء الراس في المدارس الايرلندية بدون نقاب او غطاء الوجه
The clearly defined policy contrasts with the lack of guidance given to a principal in Gorey Community School last year when the same issue arose. He was told that it was up to the school’s board of management to decide whether pupils could wear Muslim headdress.
المشكلة ان وزارة التعليم لم تعلم مدير المدرسة بوكسفورد بهذا القرار الذي اتخذ سابقا في الالفين وخمسة
The advice issued in 2005 is contained in a letter released under the Freedom of Information Act. Brian Hayes, Fine Gael’s education spokesman, said it showed that the department had shifted opinion on the wearing of the hijab since first issuing advice three years ago. “It shows that instead of drawing up clear guidelines and sticking to them, the department has just confused its position in the intervening period,” he said. Responding last week the education department said it has asked Conor Lenihan, the integration minister, to address the wearing of religious clothing in a new policy document, the Intercultural Education Strategy. In 2005, Matthew Ryan, the principal officer in the department’s post-primary administration section, issued a clear directive to Our Lady’s Grove in Goatstown. In a letter he stated: “Where a school admits a person of a religious denomination but then seeks to impose a dress code requirement which runs contrary to that student’s religious beliefs, it may constitute unlawful discrimination against that student.” The letter states that the
Equal Status Act 2000 prohibits a school from discriminating against a student on religious grounds. “It follows that this department would expect schools to allow students of that denomination \ to wear the hijab and indeed it is our understanding that this approach is being followed by schools,” the department wrote at the time. Liam Egan, the father of the girl from Gorey Community School whose wearing of the hijab prompted her principal to seek advice from the department, said that equality legislation had not changed since 2005. “The law has not changed, so why has the department changed its position? Since 7/7, this has become more of a political issue. My daughter wore the hijab all through her first year in school and it was not contentious. Then, at the end of the year, it suddenly became an issue,” he said. Egan has helped set up the Irish Hijab Campaign to lobby for the right of female Muslim students to wear the hijab. The group says that pupils have worn the hijab “for years” without any problem and that the argument that the next step is the wearing of the niqab — a headdress revealing only the eyes — or burqa — a garment covering the whole body — is alarmist. “Not one single child in Ireland wears a niqab or burqa,” he said. “The people who raise that issue want to provoke fear and suspicion.” Egan said that more than one-third of all Muslims in Ireland were now native Irish. “This is not an immigrant issue. It’s about freedom to practice religious beliefs. People say we should assimilate, but I was born in Wexford — I am Irish and Muslim. We should not follow the lead of France, where there is no tolerance.” Source: Sunday Times