Legal battle over school ban on Muslim veil
7 September 2005, BRUSSELS — Anti-racism movement MRAX is taking legal action in the Belgian Council of State to overturn school regulations banning the wearing of a Muslim veil.
7 September 2005
BRUSSELS — Anti-racism movement MRAX is taking legal action in the Belgian Council of State to overturn school regulations banning the wearing of a Muslim veil.
French Community Prime Minister Marie Arena approved on 26 August a regulation implemented by the state secondary schools Gilly and Vauban (in Charleroi) banning the wearing of any form of head garment.
The French-speaking MRAX — which is demanding discussions about the wearing of a veil — has lodged a legal objection in the Council of State.
MRAX director Didier de Laveleye said the movement wants to demand respect for religious liberty, which is guaranteed in the Belgian Constitution and international treaties. He also pointed to equality and anti-discrimination laws.
The anti-racism group claims that banning girls from wearing a veil at school is xenophobic and displays cultural ignorance, newspaper 'Het Laatste Nieuws' reported on Wednesday.
Besides the legal action, MRAX chairman Radouane Bouhlal also said the movement wants to stimulate debate and put forward five proposals for consideration.
He said a neutrality principle should be re-employed by schools, urged the prevention of 'ghetto schools' where girls study because they are not welcome elsewhere and called for comparable philosophy and religious education so that cultural diversity could be taught,
MRAX also wants to boost participation rates at schools and improve teacher education to include cultural, ethnic and religious diversity.
MRAX said 80 percent of schools in the French community in Belgium ban the wearing of head garments, including the Muslim veil.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news