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Kenyan Muslims can Wear Hijab at Christian Schools

According to BBC News, a court in Kenya has ruled that Christian schools may not ban Muslim girls from wearing hijab (headscarf) as part of their uniforms.

A church-run school had banned female students from wearing hijab since students must wear the same uniform. The school argued that allowing students to dress differently created discord in the school environment.

However, Judges Philip Waki, Roselyne Nambuye and Patrick Kiage of the Court of Appeal said Muslim girls have the religious right to wear hijab alongside their school uniforms. The judges ruled that education promoters must embrace the principles of diversity and non-discrimination.

Now, Muslim girls are now allowed to wear hijab at school. They can also wear trousers as long as they are white, to conform to Christian schools’ uniform policy.

Some 11% of the population in Kenya are Muslims while 83% are Christians. Government support is scarce in several counties in northern Kenya and the people have grown to depend on schools and hospitals run by Christian missionaries.

State schools in Kenya has already allowed girls to wear the hijab. But, there has been a long history of dispute over the wearing of hijab at schools that are funded by Christian churches. Some schools had outlawed the garment.

Following the latest ruling, local authorities has ordered that Muslim students must be allowed to wear hijabs at a Methodist Church. The three judges said students are “bearers and exercisers of the full guarantees in our bill of rights and they are no less entitled to those rights by reason only of being within school gates.”

Sources:

Bbccom. (2016). BBC News. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-37321355

The-starcoke. (2016). The Star, Kenya. http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2016/09/10/court-of-appeal-overturns-decision-banning-hijab_c1417889

Abna24com. (2016). Abna24com. http://en.abna24.com/service/africa/archive/2016/09/10/778109/story.html

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