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Belgian School Fires Teacher for Wearing Veil

Belgium beat France to the face veil ban, looks like the fall out is already being felt.

Belgian School Sacks Teacher for Wearing Veil (via Islamophobia-Watch)

A Belgian high school on Tuesday sacked a Muslim maths teacher after she insisted she would continue to wear the burqa while taking classes.

At the start of the academic year authorities at the school in Charleroi, south of Brussels, told the Turkish-born teacher to remove her full-face Islamic veil, which she had been wearing during class for two and a half years. The teacher refused and took her case to court.

In the first instance the Charleroi tribunal backed the school board, citing the religious “neutrality” of the schools serving Belgium’s francophone community. However, in March the appeals court ruled that the school in question came under the jurisdiction of Charleroi, which had not issued rules on the banning of religious insignia. The Muslim teacher therefore returned to school, but the municipality soon afterwards introduced its own ban on the wearing of “all religious or philosophical symbols”.

On Tuesday officials at the school, after auditioning the teacher in presence of the mayor, decided to sack her for her continued refusal to leave her burqa at home, according to a statement issued by the town hall.

AFP, 8 June 2010

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  • nat

    A little ironic, isn’t it ‘auntie’, that you simultaneously pat yourself on the back for being part of ‘Western’ culture that supposedly is at “the forefront of truth seeking” – when your whole post about niqab is based on nonsense and your own vivid imagination than anything based on fact. Funeral shrouds?! Wth.

  • on the subject of veils, it seems to westerners that muslims can not be unaware of our western social norms.
    i dont think anyone has a problem with a woman/girl wanting to cover her hair for reasons of modesty. what is unacceptable is hiding the face. right through our history, only thieves murderers rapists etc ie those up to no good would go about hiding their face.
    you could almost say that the human face in a sense is sacred to us. we never needed any law about it, because everyone adhered to the taboo. it is only since muslims arrived that we’ve had to think about it.
    now, for the last 30 years where i live, the sizeable muslim minority never hid their faces. recently they’ve started to do so.
    it is not a requirement of their faith, but more and more of them are seeming to be asserting a muslim identity by aping the saudi custom of going round dressed all in black like medieval lepers and hiding the face .
    this is not being modest [-in our culture]…its being provocative and exhibitionist, and seeks to draw attention and make a statement.
    now muslims must be aware of the funereal connotations -in our culture, of the colour Black. of course goth types happily or should i say gloomily! like wearing all black, but nothing is bad about that in and of itself…because the black garments are counterbalanced by their openly visible faces.
    what muslims dont seem to realise, or want to ignore anyway, is that when you combine an all-black outfit, with hiding/covering the face…this creates a very malevolent malignant impression to the people of the majority indiginous culture.
    also, as we are all begining to be aware of the links between repressive wahabi saudi style puritanical and intolerant islam, and these funereal costumes, the fact that women choose to wear them is a sign that the darker more intolerant brand of islam is proliferating in our neighbourhoods.
    given that muslims cannot be unaware that most westerners will be viewing things as ive described above, it is beyond me why they cannot, if they are determined to shroud themselves, why they cannot at least do it in brightly coloured fabrics that dont have [to western eyes] such a malignant appearance.

    but the issue is really nothing to do with garments, except inasmuch as the fact of a face being hidden [which is the actual issue] requires that a garment be there.
    i dont care what you wear on you feet, what you wear round your bottom or your breasts, how whacky or fabulous a hat you wear, its absolutely your choice and none of my business, but when it comes to the face, i need to see more than just your eyes to feel you are part of my world and my culture.
    i think essentially that for me, the face is symbolic of open-ness. i see western culture as being at the forefront of truth seeking, which is why WE are able to look at ourselves warts-and-all and why we are so vibrant and dynamic and why we continue to evolve and grow. and anything that seeks to hide itself from the light of day or obscure itself is regressive and against the pursuit of truth. i think on some level this is why we are almost instinctively repulsed by such medieval costumes.
    we understand on a gut level that is a physical representation of backwardness and the triumph of dogma over reason.

    apart from all the above, we also need to see the whole of someones face to catch the nuances ticks and twitches that reveal the emotion and thoughts going on in the mid of the person we are communicating with. so much of the richness of communication is lost without that full range of expression being visible.

    also, everyones face being visible reinforces the fact that collectively everybody in our culture is equal. i feel that the modesty excuse muslims use is just a way for muslim men to legitimise their need to controll women.
    also, the fact of women Needing to veil themselves says more about the lack of arab/muslim mens sexual self-control than it does about a womens virtue.

  • Linda Dashwood

    Traditional Muslimas are not required to observe these standards of modesty around children, are they? Or is she teaching teens? At any rate, if no one is allowed to wear religious symbols this decision makes some sense. However, if she always wore a headscarf while teaching and the rules were changed after she had been teaching for several years, this ruling seems somewhat harsh.

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  • mindy1

    why fire her? If it does not interefere with her job, why fire her?

  • Bob Pitt

    Islam in Europe points out that “Nuran Topal, the teacher in question, wears a headscarf, not a face-veil”. http://bit.ly/98uOlQ

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