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Tory candidate accused of undermining Muslim schoolgirl for probing about PM’s Islamophobic remarks

27th Dec 2019
Tory candidate accused of undermining Muslim schoolgirl for probing about PM’s Islamophobic remarks

(Photo: OSCE Parliamentary Assembly/FlickrCommons)

Elham Asaad Buaras

A veteran Tory candidate has been accused reducing a Muslim schoolgirl to tears and aggressively confronting teachers after she was asked why she supports a prime minister who unapologetically compared niqab-wearing Muslim women to ‘letterboxes’ and ‘bank robbers.’

The heated exchange between Dame Cheryl Gillan, who has held Chesham and Amersham seat since 1992, and the hijab-wearing 15-year-old student is said to have occurred during a visit to a girls grammar school in Buckinghamshire.

The schoolgirl’s father Tariq Ahmed said, Gillan, opened the Q and A session at Dr Challoner’s High School with ‘a speech in which she stated that she doesn’t support people who hate on other people’, that assertion, wrote Ahmed on his Facebook page prompted his daughter to ask the Chair of the 1922 Committee why she supports ‘Johnson who*still* hasn’t apologised for calling Muslim women bank-robbers and letterboxes.’

It was at this point says Ahmed that Gillan deflected the question of hate speech and Islamophobia and on to Muslim women being forced to don religious wear. She then bought attention to the fact that his daughter wears the hijab “undermine” her.

Ahmed said his daughter’s question had, ‘prompted an already heated Cheryl to make offensive remarks implying that Muslim women are oppressed and forced to wear”the headdress.”’

‘Cheryl then added, ‘I’m sure you’re not being forced to wear the head-dress’ which came across to all the students as a very undermining statement as she almost questioned my daughter on her choice to wear the hijab. This led to my daughter becoming extremely upset to the point where she began crying. Other students agreed with my daughter and also said that Cheryl indirectly said the same type of thing as Boris.’

Ahmed said, ‘Many other students also have messaged her since to express how rude and condescending Cheryl was in her speech and attitude throughout.’

Adding, ‘They all explained that her attitude was shocking and the way she spoke was irrespective, and how the questions asked were not addressed nor answered correctly but rather were all ‘brushed under the carpet.’

Another parent told The Muslim News the exchange was not limited to the schoolgirl and that Gillan had confronted and reprimanded several teachers including the head of politics “for not doing a better job” teaching the students.

In a statement to The Muslim News, Gillan dismissed the incident as a “misunderstanding.” Adding “My response to the student in question was intended to be entirely supportive of women and I am sorry if it was not perceived as such.”

A spokesman for Dr Challoner’s High School said they wouldn’t comment on the visit by Gillan.

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