Seven students from Thaara Secondary School in Maragua Constituency, Murang’a County have been sent home for covering their heads with hijabs, with their parents describing the action as religious discrimination.
According to the parents of the Form Two students, trouble started after the Idd-ul-Fitr holidays when a Form One student sought permission to pray.
It was then a teacher allegedly told the student and the seven others to bring their parents to school the following day.
NO COVERING EARS
Ms Fatuma Ibrahim, one of the parents said they went to the school and were told by the teachers that their students were supposed to wear hijabs without covering their ears or else they transfer them to other schools.
The parents objected to the idea, a move that saw the seven students sent home the following day.
“When the students were admitted to the school, they had hijabs covering their heads as Islam dictates. We find it unfair and religious discrimination when they are given conditions which are not given to other students who are members of the Akorino sect and others,” She said.
Ms Ibrahim said they would not relent in fighting for their students’ rights, urging the Ministry of Education and activists to join them in agitating for the rights of Muslims.
On his part, Mr Ramadhan Waweru said the school’s management claimed that the hijab must be worn in a manner that exposes the student’s ears to prevent them from hiding bhang and other drugs in their heads. He said this was an insult to the Muslim community.
“How could they accuse the students of hiding bhang in the hijabs while there has never been such a case with our students and then, how come they don’t think other students from other denominations can hide the drugs in their heads since they also have head gears,” Mr Ramadan posed.
The parents said the issue has demotivated their children and caused them untold suffering “as they are being victimized because their religion’.
Said Juma, an Imam, termed the incident as unfortunate.
“We must be respected and our religion respected the way we do to other religions. Claiming that the students can hide drugs and exam materials (in their hijabs) is just an excuse for discrimination,” he said.
Contacted, Murang’a County Director of Education Ann Kiiru said that upon hearing about the matter, she went to the school and directed its management to call for a meeting with parents and solve the impasse.
She said while everybody has the freedom of worship, it is vital for the students to balance between religion and school rules because both are important.
“I personally went to the school and advised the board to call the parents back and hold dialogue with a view of solving the matter. It is important to note that while the Muslim students have a right to their religion, they can’t go wearing all colours of hijabs and of different sizes,” she said.