Moroccan Girl Sparks Debate in Spain over Muslim Headscarf

October 7, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: DNA India

Wire Service: AFP

A Moroccan girl was allowed to return to school in Spain last week after briefly being expelled for wearing the Muslim headscarf, but the incident has sparked a national debate over the traditional head cover in the mainly Roman Catholic country.

Two weeks ago a public school in the town of Gerona in the rich northeastern region of Catalonia said Shaima Saidani (9), could not attend classes wearing the headscarf, or hijab, as it was against its norms.

The girl returned to school on Tuesday after Catalonia's regional government ruled that her right to an education was more important than the institution's norms, which it said amounted to discrimination.

"I don't understand it because I am the same as the other girls and I am not hurting anyone," Shaima told Catalan daily newspaper 'El Periodico' when asked if she understood why she had been prevented from attending school.