Muslim leaders to appeal High Court ban on veils in schools

Wednesday March 25 2015

By JUMA NAMLOLA
More by this Author

Muslim leaders have said they will appeal against a High Court ruling that forbids female students from wearing veils (hijab) and trousers.

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) nominated MP, Zuleikha Hassan said Wednesday that they are in the process of appealing a ruling that female Muslim students have no right to wear as per their religious teachings.

Accompanied by the assistant imam of Jamia Mosque, Sheikh Juma Amir at Jamia multipurpose hall, Ms Hassan said wearing hijab was a constitutional right as entrenched in article 32 (4) of the Constitution of Kenya.

The article says: “A person shall not be compelled to act, or engage in any act, that is contrary to the person’s belief or religion.

Ms Hassan said the decision by the High Court overlooked several clauses of the Constitution and therefore cannot go without being challenged.

“The other day when a woman was undressed for indecent dressing, we heard cries of 'my dress my choice’. Asking a Muslim woman to walk without her hijab is the same as undressing her. Let the law apply equally to all,” she said.

STUDENTS DONATE FOR LEGAL FEE

The MP was speaking when she received a donation from female Muslim students from four secondary schools in Nairobi County.

The girls Wamy, Mahad, Andalucia and Nairobi Muslim Academy raised Sh103,750 from their parents and part of their pocket money towards cost of hiring a lawyer for the appeal.

“I am impressed that these girls understand the need to have a lawyer. We have started the process and it is our belief that the case will soon be heard,” said Ms Hassan.

Garissa Woman Representative Shukra Hussein said Muslims will not allow anybody to force them to go against their religious teachings.

“It was upon this understanding that the Constitution was crafted to accommodate people of other faiths. Asking Muslim female adults to walk around without hijab is like forcing them to walk naked. This is unacceptable,” she said.

On his part, Sheikh Amir said wearing of hijab is a commandment just as is praying five times a day among other Islamic teachings.

High Court Judge Harun Makau ruled that Muslim students at St Paul Kiwanjani Secondary School should not wear hijab while attending classes.

He said allowing such a thing in a school that is sponsored by the Methodist Church was illegal and discriminatory.