Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Kameez, Shalwar, Jilbab

Okay, I admit, I didn't know the meanings of the words either.

So here's the story:

The Law Lords today overturned a court ruling that a teenager's human rights were violated when she was banned from wearing full-length Islamic dress at school.

Lord Bingham said the school was fully justified in acting as it did when it sent Shabina Begum, then 14, home for refusing to adhere to the school uniform policy.

Shabina had previously worn the shalwar kameez - trousers and tunic - but told the school in September 2002 that her religion required her to wear the head-to-toe jilbab.

Lord Bingham said that the rules were acceptable to mainstream Muslim opinion and it was was feared that acceding to Shabina’s request would or might have significant adverse repercussions.

Shabina, now 17, took the school’s headteacher and governors to court for denying her the "right to education and to manifest her religious beliefs" under the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.

After being sent home for wearing the jilbab in September 2002, Shabina never returned to the school...To try to accommodate all faiths, the school adopted the shalwar kameez, a garment worn by many faiths on the Indian sub-continent. According to the school’s lawyers, among Shabina’s objections was that the kameez was worn by "disbelieving women".

But Shabina’s counsel, Cherie Booth, QC, said at her appeal that that was incorrect. Her objection was that the kameez was no longer suitable for her because she had reached sexual maturity and it did not sufficiently protect her modesty.

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