Muslim High School Student Challenges Dress Code

May 27, 2004

Source: The Guardian,1271,-4138013,00.html

On May 27, 2004 The Guardian ran a Press Association article that reported, "A 15-year-old Muslim girl was challenging a school's refusal to allow her to wear traditional religious dress in the classroom. Shabina Begum has been out of school since September 2002, when she was sent home after arriving for classes at Denbigh High School, Luton, in the jilbab, a long, flowing gown. Her lawyers are arguing at the High Court in London that Shabina's right to practise her religion is being infringed unlawfully. Denbigh, a 1,000-pupil comprehensive where almost 80% of pupils are Muslim, maintains it has a flexible school uniform policy which takes into account all faiths and cultures and is not acting in a discriminatory manner. Pupils can wear trousers, skirts or a shalwar kameez, consisting of trousers and a tunic. Although not officially excluded, Shabina's lawyers argue she has effectively been prevented from attending the school. Originally, she wore a shalwar kameez to school, but her deepening interest in her religion led to her wearing the loose, ankle-length jilbab which completely covers the female form apart from hands and face. When she turned up for the first day of the new school year in September 2002, Shabina, who wants to become a doctor, was told she had to go home and change."