The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has accused the chief of school inspectors of “Islamophobia” after she suggested veiled infants should be asked about why they feel the need to cover at such a young age.
Earlier this year, Ofsted boss Amanda Spielman also argued that in the same way school leaders would ban under-eights wearing lipstick and high heels to class, they could also ban the hijab and face veil, which sexualises young girls.
Now, the left-leaning NUT has hit back, slamming Ms. Spielman’s allegedly “unwarranted and typically draconian stance” on the issue and claiming it is “wholly inappropriate” for inspectors to question why young Muslims are covering up.
Latifa Abouchakra, a teacher from Ealing, received loud applause after telling the conference that Islam does not oppress women and such language was “just another term for racism and Islamophobia” that targets Muslims.
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A motion passed at the union’s conference in Brighton, reported by the Daily Mail, argues that Ms. Spielman’s remarks, “have ramifications beyond the school gates and must be seen in the context of increased attacks on the Muslim community and particular stereotypes about Muslim girls and Muslim women.”
It adds: “These statements could have a negative impact on local communities and lead to further marginalisation of, and increased physical and verbal attacks on, Muslim women and girls.”
Responding to the NUT motion, Member of the European Parliament Janice Atkinson wrote on social media: “I back head of Ofsted. Hijab has NO place in our schools. If authorities don’t protect these girls, no one will. Head of Ofsted accused of ISLAMOPHOBIA by teaching union.”
Jess Edwards, of the NUT’s executive, said: “The portrayal of the hijab as a problem will feed into an already horribly Islamophobic climate for Muslims inside of British society and Ms Spielman hasbetrayed the parents who have rolled back the hijab ban in that Newham school and portrayed them as being radicalised extremists.”
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An Ofsted spokesperson said: “The [National Education Union’s] comments are disappointing. There’s nothing political about ensuring that schools and parents aren’t being subject to undue pressure by national or community campaign groups.
“Head teachers need to be able to take uniform decisions on the basis of safeguarding or community cohesion concerns, and Ofsted will always support them in doing that.”
Mehreen Begg, a delegate from Croydon, said the resolution “provides strong opposition to Ofsted’s unwarranted and typically draconian stance on the wearing of hijabs in primary schools’.
She added: “It is wholly inappropriate for Ofsted inspectors to question primary-age Muslim girls on their choice of dress.
“This is an act of intimidation by a powerful adult on a young child and has no place in our education inspection system.
“Whilst wearing a hijab may not always be a choice, both here and internationally, it is not for Ofsted to intervene in this debate, which is a debate within the Islamic community.”
School Reverses Hijab Ban for Small Children After ‘Islamophobia’ Accusations https://t.co/7OnSeJrMr2
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