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Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Furious debate as teachers at Islamic College of SA's West Croydon campus ordered to wear hijab or face sack Bookmark and Share
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From Adelaide Now

A WARNING from South Australia's biggest Islamic school that teachers - including many non-Muslims - will lose their jobs if they do not wear a hijab to school functions and outings has sparked outrage among News Ltd readers.

Furious debate has erupted, with many respondents irate over what they perceive as double standards in the school's stance, claiming the ruling is religious discrimination. There were repeated calls for an end to any government funding to the school.

Up to 20 non-Muslim female teachers, who do not wish to be named, have been told they will be sacked from the Islamic College of South Australia's West Croydon campus after three warnings if they do not wear a headscarf to cover their hair.

"If a female Muslim teacher working at a non-Muslim school was ordered to stop wearing her hijab at school functions and outings then that school board and principal would be before the Anti-Discrimination Commission before you could say 'hypocrisy'," wrote "Sir Loin of Lamb".

Earlier it was reported that the order, from the school's governing board and chairman Faruk Kahn, contradicts the policy of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils.

Mr Kahn yesterday referred The Advertiser to AFIC for comment on the matter. "I have no comment ... I think you better go to AFIC, they are the only ones that are to make comment," Mr Kahn said.

School principal Kadir Emniyet did not return calls.

One long-term teacher at the Islamic College of SA said a new school board was now "forcing teachers to put hijabs back on". "There's no discussion ... you wear it or you're fired," the teacher said. "The teachers have always adhered to the policies and we are respectful of that. We are respectful of their religion but they are not going to respect us."

The college has about 800 students and 40 staff. Guidelines from the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils to other Islamic schools do not require teachers to wear hijabs.

Glen Seidel, state secretary of the Independent Education Union, said the union was monitoring the policy. "Essentially it means female staff have to wear a scarf covering most of their hair, and not have legs and arms exposed," he said. "In 2012, the requirement was being managed moderately, but with a new principal in 2013 enacting the decisions of a very conservative school board, there is no room for compromise. . . Non-Islamic staff can, however, feel rightly aggrieved that they are being coerced to adopt the dress code of a religion to which they do not belong."

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Posted on 02/12/2013 5:05 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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