At first glance, there is less to this Sunday Telegraph story than meets the eye:
Hundreds of girls are bring forced by British schools to wear the Islamic veil in a move which has been heavily criticised by mainstream Muslims. Islamic schools have introduced uniform policies which force girls to wear the burka or a full headscarf and veil known as the niqab. Moderate followers of Islam said yesterday that enforcement of the veil was a “dangerous precedent” and that children attending such schools were being “brainwashed”. The Sunday Telegraph has established that three UK institutions have introduced a compulsory veil policy when girls are walking to or from school…All three are independent, fee-paying, single-sex schools for girls aged 11 to 18.
Enforcing a primitive cultural observance of this type is grotesque (and it’s certainly not going to help integration along), but if the schools are privately-funded, this sort of thing is — within limits — up to them. Thus if the Jamea Al Kauthar boarding school wishes to ban family photographs, the cutting of hair or the removal of hair between eyebrows, that may be bizarre, but it is a matter between the school and the none-too praiseworthy parents who choose to subject their children to this nonsense.
That said, it would be interesting to know what criteteria have been used by Ofsted (Britain’s state school inspectorate) in finding Jamea Al Kauthar to be “outstanding,” particularly given the fact that this doubtless rigorous inspectorate, an inspectorate untouched by multiculturalist dogma of any kind (if anyone believes that, I have a bridge to sell them), apparently had nothing to say about the dress code at the Madani girls’ school in East London, of which some details follow below:
“The present uniform conforms to the Islamic Code of dressing. Outside the school, this comprises of the black Burka and Niqab.”
The admission application form warns girls will be “appropriately punished” for failing to wear the correct uniform, and its website adds: “If parents are approached by the Education Department regarding their child’s education, they should not disclose any information without discussing it with the committee.”
Something to hide?
Most troubling of all is the suggestion that such schools may be en route to becoming “free schools” under new (and, in principle, praiseworthy) legislation introduced by Britain’s coalition government, legislation that goes some way to following the excellent Swedish precedent of allowing independent groups to set up their own schools — and then receive taxpayer support.
Anastasia de Waal, deputy director of think-tank Civitas, said: “We now have a scenario where schools such as [Madani or Jamea Al Kauthar] will be able to apply to become free schools, under the Government’s policy, and therefore receive state funding. We need absolute clarity on what the position is going to be on such applications.”
Indeed we do. How about rejection?