CAIRO – A hijab ban in a nursing secondary school in Prague has forced two Muslim girls to quit the school, ending their dreams of a bright future in the Czech Republic.
"The principal summoned me and told me: 'If you want to be in the school, you must not wear the scarf," Nasra, one of the two girls, was quoted by Czech Television (CT), Prague Daily Monitor reported on Monday, November 11.
"I said this was against my religion as I am a Muslim."
|Hijab: What’s It All About?|
The students’ problems erupted after they joined the nursing school in Prague.
The two Muslim students, one Somali aged 23, and an Afghan woman aged 25, said they were discriminated against for wearing hijab.
Attending the school, the two women were asked to take off their hijab to continue studying in the school.
Although Nasra suggested to way change her hijab style, by wearing it in a way that covers hair only, as a compromise, the school principal didn't approve the idea.
A day after the principal's refusal, Nasra left the school.
Under pressure, Zelmina found herself forced to attend several classes without hijab. Yet, she felt something 'missing'.
"I was in the classroom and I could not concentrate myself. I could not do anything as I constantly had to think of my missing something," Zelmina, who left school two months after Nasra, told CT.
"Why am I without the scarf here? I have my rights and religion,” she added, decided to leave as well.
The Czech Republic, which has a population of more than 10 million people, is home to around 15,000 Muslims.
The number of new Muslims is estimated between 1500-2000, many of them embraced Islam in the 1990s.
In 2004, Prague acknowledged Islam as an official religion, giving Muslims rights on equal footing to Christians and Jews.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
Defending schools rules, the school's principal argued that the school had committed ‘no mistakes’.
The principal, Ivanka Kohoutova, added that the school can impose its own rules as the law didn't mention wearing hijab.
While wearing hijab has no regulations under the Czech Republic law, the nursing school rules ban headscarves.
The principal said that the two girls’ incidents were the first of its kind, adding that her school, which is attended by a large number of foreign students from four continents, didn't encounter a similar problem before.
She also claimed that the two girls objected to compulsory physical education and the conditions of compulsory practice.
However, the girl denied the principal's allegations.
Meanwhile, human rights organizations described the school stance as 'discriminatory'.
The lawyers were mulling fill an anti-discrimination lawsuit.
Yet, the Muslim girls' case is expected to end up with the ombudsman’s office.
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