A Muslim teacher’s powerful stand against OFSTED’s (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) ban on Muslim women wearing hijab has got the Internet buzzing. Speaking at the NEU-NUT Section Annual Conference 2018, Latifa Abouchakra referred to terms like ‘muscular liberalism’ used by certain sections of media and politicians. She defined this as just another term for Islamophobia and racism. While mainstream media has often shown and reported many incidents of how the hijab or being under a veil is often used as a tool of oppression against Muslim or South Asian women, Abouchakra emphasises that she chose to wear the hijab as an article of her faith and none was entitled to take away her right to exercise her freedom of choice.
“My faith has given me the right to choose 1400 years before the universal declaration of human rights told me I could. A fun fact for you conference, my dad didn’t want me to wear the hijab, I chose to, those of faith should have the right to choose their articles of faiths. Practising my right to freedom of expression through the hijab, empowers me and other women like me, to know that we are able to make decisions for ourselves.” said the first time speaker at the conference.
Comments of Amanda Spielman, the chief of OFSTED, came under scanner and heavy backlash after she raised concerns over Muslims girls as young as five wearing the headscarf, while she was lobbying over dress codes in primary schools. She has been accused of pressuring schools into banning hijab worn by young girls by National Education Union in the UK.