Muslim pupils at Rippon Road Primary School were allegedly told to remove their Islamic attire.
Fuming Muslim parents whose children attend Rippon Road Primary School in Sydenham have denounced the alleged banning of the topi and hijab by the school’s principal, claiming it is a direct violation of the human and religious rights enshrined in the Constitution.
The drama unfolded last Tuesday, which was also the start of the holy month of Ramadaan, after the principal of the school allegedly made remarks after the assembly.
It’s alleged that the principal approached and reprimanded two pupils who were dressed for Ramadaan.
The topi and the hijab as seen above are similar to the Islamic attire the school pupils wore and were told to remove.
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A parent, who spoke to the Rising Sun on condition of anonymity, said that the principal approached the children after the assembly and informed them that their attire was not part of the school attire and it needed to be removed.
The parent also claimed that one of the children tried to explain to the principal that they were using the attire because of religious reasons but the principal did not accept it.
It is believed that on the Thursday that followed, a prefect at the school asked a child to remove her hijab and when the child tried to explain the purpose of the attire, the prefect then pulled the hijab from the child.
The distressed children had informed their parents about these encounters which led to the parents contacting the school.
On Saturday, an SGB meeting was held and by the end of it a conclusion had not been reached. The parents once again tried to approach the principal but their attempts were futile.
The Rising Sun also approached the principal for comment but she refused to speak to the media and referred us to the Department of Education.
“We are just requesting that the school respect our children and their religious rights. We are not judgmental people, this is a month for us to open up to everybody, and for them to throw this kind of disrespect at our children is not right. It is a discriminatory practice which needs to be abolished. Fundamental human and religious rights have been violated,” said the restless parent.
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Thandile Kona, president of the Muslim Youth Movement, said, “Our general view on the situation is that South Africa prides itself on being a multicultural nation and the people of South Africa should be allowed to practice their chosen religions without being victimised.”
Department of Education spokesman, Muzi Mahlambi, said, “We investigated this matter on Monday and we have come to the conclusion that these allegations are false. The South African Constitution is to protect all South Africans. We respect and fight for all religions and cultures in this country.”
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