Religion and schools

Again on the hijab in primary schools

See here for wider debate in Solidarity on the ban of the hijab in schools . I want to respond to Ben Tausz’s contribution to the debate on whether to ban the hijab in primary schools (Solidarity 527). He quotes me as saying “I do not think that you need to have a solution (of how a ban might be enforced) to support a ban”. The problem is, I didn’t say that. I said that I didn’t think you had to have an agreed solution to what the consequence of breaking the ban might be. What, Ben, should the consequence be for those who resist our programme for renationalisation? What should the consequence...

The hijab and the Saudi factor

Sadia Hameed is a spokesperson for the Council of ex-Muslims in Britain , and a director of Gloucestershire Sisters, a women's organisation working in minority communities, particularly around tackling harmful traditional practices. She was interviewed by Sacha Ismail for Solidarity . See here for wider debate in Solidarity on the ban of the hijab in schools . We need to question the idea of multiculturalism. Diversity of culture is a great thing, but harmful ideas and practices need to be challenged and criticised. Multiculturalism should be about taking the wonderful parts of all cultures...

Against the school hijab ban demand

See here for wider debate in Solidarity on the ban of the hijab in schools . In his most recent letter defending his demand for a hijab ban in schools, David Pendletone says “I … do not think that you need to have a solution [of how a ban might be enforced] to support a ban of the hijab for children in primary schools”. This is absurd and deeply irresponsible, given the counter-productive and dangerous consequences of many (I would argue all) possible scenarios of enforcement. What it reflects is that this demand seems founded more on an insistence that ‘something must be done’, more than on...

Letters

I wish people would stop talking about “the top 1%” or the “1% v the 99%.” Why should they be regarded as being “the top”? They are a completely useless parasitic layer on society. Billionaires have not “earned” or “created” their wealth. It would take someone earning a median wage of £25,000 40,000 years to make £1 billion, assuming they paid no taxes and spent none of their money on essentials such as food, shelter and clothing. According to the OECD in 2012 the top 0.6% of world population (consisting of adults with more than US$1 million in assets) or the 42 million richest people in the...

Letters

Last week, you reported on the Morning Star coming out clearly in support of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. Events have also pushed Socialist Worker to clarify its stance, in fact to show how bad it is. For some time now SW’s basic line has been: “Shout about something else loudly enough to drown all thoughts about Brexit”. SW of 22 October, however, explicitly applauded the victory of the nationalist-minded big union bureaucracies against the left-wing rank and file at Labour conference (Brighton, 22-25 September). It complained that leading Labour MPs’ speeches on 19 October “flew in the face...

Debating a ban on the hijab in schools

Hijab school ban would mis-focus Katy Dollar We are right to oppose the hijab as a social mechanism of female subordination, and we oppose pressure on girls to wear the hijab. Our priority is to help and support secularists and leftists in the mainly-Muslim communities and who fight that pressure. It is true that the concept of female modesty, whether motivated by women as tempters, or as requiring protection, embodies women’s oppression and is inseparable from the segregation and subordination of women. The debate about children rather than teenagers and young people must be had on very...

2019 debate on hijabs in schools

Photo: CC BY 2.0 DFID In the AWL in the run up to our 2019 conference, we are having a debate on the hijab in schools, after one member brought a motion on it. Please see the editorial note below, and below that, the articles that have been written in Solidarity to date on this. We have internal discussion documents on it, but most of the debate we have had publicly. Third on this page is the policy we passed in 2004, and fourth is some articles from the debate at the time. Editorial note Our existing policy decided in relation to the French ban on the hijab/veil in schools is printed at the...

Criticise religion, no to state bans

See other articles in this debate here The analysis of hijab, Islamic religious clothing based on codes of female modesty, which David Pendletone asserts in his article in Solidarity 517 is commonplace amongst many Muslim-background feminists, amongst whom the issue of state bans is highly contested. Iranian writer Chadhortt Djavan, who does support state bans on hijab for young girls, wrote in her pamphlet ‘Bas les Voiles’ (Down with Veils): “What does veiling do to a girl child? It turns her into a sexual object [...] it defines her essentially by and for men’s eyes.” Algerian socialist...

Banning hijab in schools

See other articles in this debate here I will be moving a motion for a ban on the hijab in schools up to Key Stage 3 at the Workers’ Liberty conference in December. I want to explain why. The hijab isn’t just a piece of clothing, or even just a piece of religious clothing. It has strong political connotations with religious conservatism. It is closely associated with the notion of modesty, a sexist modesty which means women have to cover up to avoid arousing men. Martin Thomas correctly wrote in 2003, during a previous discussion within Workers’ Liberty: “Whatever it is in an individual’s mind...

Tories run scared on LGBT+ education

On 1 April, the BBC news website reported that 85 Head teachers from Birmingham had met with officials from the Department of Education. The meeting followed protests by parents in Birmingham about the implementation of the new curriculum in Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) for primary schools. The new curriculum teaches children that there are different kinds of families, including families where the adults are in lesbian or gay relationships. The BBC quoted an anonymous Head who said: "We feel completely alone here and feel as if we're getting no overt support whatsoever from the...

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