Indian teacher resigns after told to remove face veil

Mumbai

Muslim teacher who resigned from her job at a school in India’s commercial capital Mumbai last week claimed her decision followed six months of discrimination from school authorities.
“I tried to make them understand about my burqa and hijab, which are part of my religious belief and family tradition but it did not work out and finally I had to submit my resignation,” Shabina Khan Nazneen, who taught IT at the Vivek English High School, told media.
She had been working at the school for almost three years but said she faced trouble after a new headmistress arrived. “Earlier there was not trouble but once the headmistress joined the school in June this year, she kept on asking me to remove my burqa and hijab as it’s against the school decorum. Finally on Dec. 5, during the morning assembly session, when I went to conduct the morning prayers and the national anthem, she insisted I remove the burqa and the hijab as well,” Nazneen added.
The school has not yet accepted her resignation but Principal Vikram Pillai was quoted by local media saying they would make a decision next week.
The Indian Express daily newspaper quoted the school saying the incident was a “misunderstanding”. Adil Khatri, a trustee for Mumbai-based NGO Jai Ho Foundation, which has supported Nazneen, told Anadolu Agency they have written to the state education minister and are awaiting a reply.
“Now, I think the school authorities are under pressure. I hope proper action will be taken against such discrimination,” Khatri said. Many in India fear there are increasing examples of such discrimination in the country, despite its moniker as the largest democracy in the world.
Human Rights Watch, in its 2016 global human rights reported, noted there had been serious cases of discrimination of intimidation of Muslims and Christians but authorities had not prosecuted those responsible.
Altaf Qadri, an award-winning photojournalist based in New Delhi for the Associated Press, told Anadolu agency he often faces discrimination for having a beard.—Agencies

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