This post was written by guest contributor Asifa Akbar.
In the last couple of weeks, reports have surfaced about Kosovo’s supposed ban on the wearing of the headscarf (hijab) by Muslim girls in its public schools. Such reports were reposted on social media and influential blogs; for example, already over 900 people have recommended an online Al Jazeera report entitled “Kosovo orders ban on headscarves in schools.”
The latest reports centre on the case of student Njomza Jashari, who was recently told she is not allowed to come to school wearing her headscarf. She may continue her studies by correspondence, but according to the above report, her school principal has allowed a compromise with respect to her writing exams while wearing the headscarf.
So what’s wrong with these reports? Well, for one, they generalize the most recent particular case in one school where authorities made a decision to uphold an administrative ban against wearing the headscarf in public schools in the particular Kosovo municipality of Ferizaj. The reality is that there is as yet no clear universal national legislation banning the wearing of the headscarf in public schools across all of Kosovo. So these reports are inaccurate. Administrative bans, such as the one adopted in Ferizaj and some other municipalities, are by no means universally or uniformly applied across the nation. The Ministry of Education has issued a set of guidelines to municipal education authorities with respect to school dress codes and uniforms, but there has been no explicit statement that headscarves are to be banned completely and to date, municipalities have taken varying approaches to the matter. [Read more...]