AT least three Muslim faith schools in thre UK are forcing girls as young as 11 to cover their faces with veils – with the blessing of Ofsted inspectors.
It emerged yesterday that one of the schools insists that fees are paid in cash and warns parents against speaking to the local education authority.
The schools’ dress codes yesterday provoked anger among mainsteam Muslims, who warned that pupils were in danger of being “brainwashed”.
The three schools causing concern are Madani Girls’ School in Tower Hamlets, East London, Jamea Al Kauthar, in Lancaster and Jameah Girls’ Academy in Leicester.
They insist that when girls are travelling to and from school they wear the niqab, a face veil leaving the eyes exposed, or the head-to-toe burka, which covers the eyes with a mesh screen.
School uniform rules listed on Madani’s website have been removed but an earlier version, seen by the Sunday Telegraph, said:
The present uniform conforms to the Islamic Code of dressing. Outside the school, this comprises of the black Burka and Niqab.
Critics claimed the policies could damage relations between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.
Ed Husain, co-director of Quilliam, the counter-extremist think-tank, said:
It is absurd that schools are enforcing this outdated ritual – one that which sends out a damaging message that Muslims do not want to fully partake in British society. The enforcing of the niqab on young girls is not a mainstream Islamic practice – either in Britain or in most Muslim-majority countries. Â It is a desert practice which belongs to another century and another world.
Although it is not the government’s job to dictate how its citizens dress, it should nonetheless ensure that such schools are not bankrolled or subsidised by the British taxpayer.
Dr Taj Hargey, an imam and chairman of the Muslim Educational Trust of Oxford, said:
This is very disturbing and sets a dangerous precedent. Â It means that Muslim children are being brainwashed into thinking they must segregate and separate themselves from mainstream society.
Philip Hollobone, the Tory MP who has attempted to bring in a Private Members’ Bill to ban wearing of the burka in public, added:
It is very sad in 21st century Britain that three schools are effectively forcing girls as young as 11 to hide their faces. How on earth are these young ladies going to grow up as part of a fully integrated society if they are made to regard themselves as objects at such a young age?
Hat tip: BarrieJohn