Muslim girls in primary schools will be questioned by school inspectors if they wear a hijab or headscarf.
Ofsted schools inspectorate head Amanda Spielman announced the plan last weekend.
She declared that wearing a hijab “could be interpreted as sexualisation” of girls.
Muslims and others have reacted with anger. In a letter to the Guardian newspaper Dr Sana Ramiz wrote, “In an attempt to copy my mother, I wore hijab as a young girl against the wish of my parents.
“I would like to ask Amanda Spielman, will Ofsted inspectors be ‘questioning’ young girls copying their mothers, whether by wearing hijab, lipstick or stilettos?”
Spielman said “creating an environment where primary school children are expected to wear the hijab” is a problem. But nobody is doing this. She talked of “respecting parents’ choice” in how to bring up their children—implying that parents impose the hijab.
Spielman is not respecting Muslims—she is treating them as a problem. Spielman said the new recommendation to inspectors is about “assessing whether the school promotes equality for their children”.
This implies that girls who choose to wear a hijab are more oppressed than others.
She then spoke about “fundamentalist groups influencing school policy or breaching equality law”.
This taps into the idea that extremist Muslims are trying to influence schools, echoing the Trojan Horse letter in 2014.
The letter falsely claimed that Muslims were trying to take over schools in Birmingham to promote extremism and radicalisation.
The government used this to bring in further repressive measures against Muslims.
Telling Muslim girls what they can and can’t wear is not about liberating them—it’s about promoting anti-Muslim racism.