Islamic schools including those funded by the British government and private institutions are forcing children — some of whom are very young — to wear the Islamic Hijab as part of their uniform code.
The garment, which is designed to shield women from the lust of men, is heavily associated with conservative interpretations of the Islamic faith. The revelations over children being forced to wear the shroud at school comes just weeks after a Transport for London road safety campaign featuring a child girl in a hijab was criticised and ultimately scrapped for “sexualising four-year-olds”.
The revelation comes from research by the National Secular Society, which has told the education minister that the hijab head covering is a compulsory item of school uniform for girls in 59 schools they are aware of across the United Kingdom, reports The Sunday Times.
Of those 59 schools, eight are state-funded — and three of those are primary schools, serving children as young as four.
Examples of school uniform policy reported by the newspaper lay bare just how prescriptive the rules can be, requiring girls to cover up much more than just their hair. One says “the face must be covered outside the school”, while another stipulates “It is very important that the uniform is loose fitting and modest and that the hijab is fitted closely to the head. The uniform is compulsory.”
Pushing back against the rules, the report by the society submitting the research to the government said: “No child should be obliged to wear the hijab or any other article of religious clothing while at school.”
The revelation follows similar research reported on in early September which found there were potentially thousands of state primary schools which allowed the wearing of the hijab, which campaigners said sexualised the children wearing them.
Education regulator Ofsted is reportedly investigating whether the move to introduce the garment to children all over Britain was driven by schools themselves, or if “there is evidence that schools are facing external pressure”, from parents or religious groups.