Kenya: Headscarf ban in schools overturned

9th Sep 2016
Kenya: Headscarf ban in schools overturned

By Magdalene Mukami

 

NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) A Kenyan court on Thursday overturned a ban on students wearing headscarves, saying they should be able to wear religious attire.The ban had been imposed by Justice Harun Makau of the High Court in March 2015.

“Kenya’s education minister should facilitate urgent consultations and formulate appropriate regulations for the better protection of the fundamental right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom from discrimination under Article 27 of the Constitution for all students in Kenya’s educational system,” said the ruling by a three-judge panel.

The panel, led by Justice Phillip Waki of the Court of Appeal of Kenya, rejected the argument that headscarves should not be allowed as they are not part of the official school uniform.

The judges also called on schools not to discriminate against students who wear headscarves and to embrace the fact that Kenya is a country of diverse religious faiths.

The ruling comes as a reprieve for many female Muslim students in Kenya, who had been forced to abandon headscarves after the law was passed, especially those studying at Christian-sponsored schools.

Hammad Mohammed Kassim, Kenya’s chief kadhi (Muslim official), had previously argued before a court that wearing headscarves is a religious obligation for women.

[Photo: Kenya Muslim students were banned from wearing the hijab. Photographer: Recep Canik/AA]

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