Marks and Spencer has been criticised for selling hijabs as part of its school uniform range, with anti-extremism campaigner Majid Nawaz condemning the leading British department store for “facilitating medievalism”.
The Islamic modesty garment can be found on the “essentials” section of school uniform pages, costing £6 and coming in both black and navy in sizes small to large — intended for school children from nursery, aged around three, to high school.
One London mother-of-three told Breitbart London that she was uncomfortable buying other uniform items from Marks and Spencer, her usual retailer of choice, while it sold the oppressive garment.
Former Islamist, Islamic reformer, and anti-extremism campaigner Majid Nawaz picked up on the item, images of which were making the rounds of social media, tweeting Wednesday: “Marks and Spencer facilitates medievalism by selling children’s hijabs in the school-wear category.
.@marksandspencer facilitates medievalism by selling children’s hijabs in the school-wear category. It’s their right to choose profit over values. But it’s our right to shame them for doing so. Little girls are told it is “immodest” to show their hair. And blessed be the fruit pic.twitter.com/I5d7csTsiL
— Maajid – (Mājid) [maːʤɪd] ماجد (@MaajidNawaz) October 10, 2018
“It’s their right to choose profit over values. But it’s our right to shame them for doing so. Little girls are told it is ‘immodest’ to show their hair. And blessed be the fruit.
“To be clear, these are stocked for little girls as young as 3 years old.
“Hijab is still imposed (only on women) by law in Iran and Saudi Arabia, and many other countries. This is gender apartheid. Marks and Spencer are free to sell confederate flag tee-shirts too, but I bet they never will,” the LBC radio host added.
School uniforms are mostly mandatory across the whole United Kingdom, and though they vary in colour and style, generic items like blouses and skirts can be bought at department stores or on the high street.
When challenged by Mr Nawaz why they were facilitating medievalism and sexualising girls as young as three, a spokesman for the quintessentially British retailed tweeted: “We provide bespoke uniforms for 250 schools across the country and they tell us which items they need as part of their school uniform list. For a number of schools this year, they requested the option of the hijab.”
Other cultural commentators also criticised M&S, including UKIP Member of the London Assembly Peter Whittle, who tweeted: “That old argument about women being able to ‘choose’ what they wear doesn’t really apply here does it? Young girls being schooled in modesty. And effectively, submission.”
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) October 11, 2018
talkRADIO host Julia Hartley-Brewer called them an “abomination”, adding: “This is extremist Islamism and NOT a Koranic requirement for young Muslim girls at primary school. No, no, no, no… NO!”
Australia-based American-born Iranian opinion columnist Rita Panahi called it “vile”, while ex-Muslim Yasmine Mohammed, who faced death threats from her mother for rejecting the hijab, tweeted: “Fuck you so much @marksandspencer. From the bottom of my heart, sincerely, fuck you.”
This is not the first time that the British retailer was in the headlines for selling Islamic modesty clothing that obscure women’s bodies after being criticised in 2016 for selling sharia-approved swimwear the burkini.
The issue of very young girls wearing a modesty garment intended for post-pubescent girls, still regarded as not mandated by Islamic scripture by many moderate Muslims, after it was revealed that girls as young as four were being forced to wear hijabs as part of the uniform.
In reaction to the issue, the head of the UK’s schools inspectorate, Amanda Spielman, argued that schools had the right to ban the hijab or Ramadan fasting for young children. As a result, Ms Spielman found herself the subject of anti-Semitic abuse online.
Teachers’ Union Says Questioning Hijab is ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘Racism’ https://t.co/KvF9PEYjEk
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 3, 2018