Moroccan girl in Spain wins scarf battle and returns to school
Regional-Spain, Culture, 2/19/2002
A 13-year-old Moroccan girl living in Madrid who was prevented for five months from going to school for her refusal to take off her scarf, was finally allowed to return to school without conditions.
Despite the school director's ruling that the hijab is a symbol of discrimination against women, Madrid's government has ordered that Fatima Al Idrissi be allowed to wear a traditional headscarf at school. Regional educational chief Carlos Mayor Oreja ruled Saturday that the legal obligation to provide 13-year-old Fatima with an education overrides other considerations and ordered that she be admitted "without conditions."
The case had become front-page headlines in Spain, sparking a debate that pitted those who said a prohibition would violate Fatima's religious freedom and breach her right to education against those who said a ban would promote gender equality.
Fatima's father, Ali Al Idrissi, said wearing a scarf was his daughter's own choice that should be respected.
Spain does not have any law regulating clothing norms and wearing a scarf by Spanish women is often seen as a sign of respect that bears no religious connotation.
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