As protests continue against India’s High Court ruling banning the wearing of hijab in educational institutions in the state of Karnataka, teachers across India have expressed solidarity with Muslim girls.
Supporting their right to wear the hijab, a statement of solidarity was signed by teachers from leading institutions including Jamia Millia Islamia, Miranda House, University of Delhi, Ashoka University and NLSIU.
“As teachers working in different schools, colleges and universities in different parts of India, and as Indian teachers working abroad, we stand in solidarity with the right of Muslim students to wear a hijab in class. ‘they want it,’ said the statement quoted by India time read.
“It is a matter of the autonomy of women and their agency, and the hijab in no way compromises the integrity of education,” he added.
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The controversial Supreme Court decision follows the decision by the southern state of Karnataka to ban the hijab.
The decision was met with protests organized by some Muslim students and parents, and counter-protests by Hindu students.
Critics of the ban say it is another way to marginalize a community that makes up around 13% of India’s 1.35 billion people with a Hindu majority.
“Our students come from different religions, castes, genders and speak different native languages… During their education, students learn to think critically about the world around them and begin to question the beliefs and practices with which they have grown up,” read their statement.
“In the process, students sometimes reaffirm their beliefs and sometimes reject them.”
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Islam regards the hijab as a mandatory dress code, not just a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
Allah says in the Quran, “O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters, and believing women, that they should throw their outer garments over their person…so that they may be known and not molested. The Holy Quran, Chapter 33, Verse 59
Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is said to have said: “If the woman reaches the age of puberty, no part of her body should be seen except this – and he showed her face and hands. ” Sunan of Abu-Dawood.
Restrictions on the hijab have surfaced elsewhere, notably in France, which in 2004 banned them in schools.
But in India, where Muslims make up 14% of the country’s 1.4 billion people, the hijab has always been neither banned nor restricted in public spheres.