Further Action – Contact your MP – Ofsted Hijab
Tuesday November 28 2017
Following MEND’s action alert a few days ago, hundreds of Muslim parents have complained to Ofsted and so have teaching Unions about Amanda Spielman’s comments on questioning young Muslim girls about wearing Hijab.
We are now asking you to kindly and urgently contact your MP and request they support an open letter by MPs to Ofsted condemning the questioning of Hijab and asking Ofsted to withdraw the policy with immediate effect.
As a local constituent, I wish to highlight my deep concern about Amanda Spielman/Ofsted’s recent comments questioning young Muslim girls wearing the Hijab. The open letter below is being supported by many Parliamentarians and I am requesting you kindly do the same as my MP. Please kindly read the letter and confirm your support either back to myself or directly to MEND at firstname.lastname@example.org . Thank you.
Houses of Parliament,
Professor Julius Weinberg and the Board of Ofsted
26-32 Store Street
Dear Professor Weinberg/Board of Ofsted,
We, the undersigned, are writing to you in reference to HM Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman’s recent recommendations regarding the questioning of Muslim girls who wear the hijab in schools.
We firmly believe that Ms Spielman’s comments are deeply concerning and in need of immediate retraction for a number of reasons.
Sexualisation, the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998: We would expect Ofsted guidance to be based on evidence based practice and research. Ofsted has provided no evidentiary basis for the claim that the hijab serves to ‘sexualise’ young girls. Furthermore, the Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of religion or belief. Therefore, questioning children who cover their hair solely on the basis that they are Muslim would most likely be in breach of this legislation. The right to wear religious clothing is also protected by Article 9 of the Human Rights Act 1998, which guarantees freedom of thought, belief and religion.
Transparency and consultation: We are concerned about the extent of the consultation in the development of this recommendation. It appears that mainstream Muslim organisations and teaching unions were not consulted on this issue prior to Ms Spielman’s recommendations, thus we are concerned that this policy suffers from a severe lack of analysis that could have been garnered from the perspectives of those who would be directly affected by such a policy.
Parental rights and responsibilities: The rights of parental responsibility dictate that it is within the parents’ rights “to make decisions about the child's care and upbringing and to administer the child's property.” Ofsted has provided no evidence of how wearing a hijab has an adverse impact on the child’s emotional or educational wellbeing that would therefore justify the removal of these parental rights.
Considering these serious deficiencies within the recommendation, we urgently request that:
1. Ms Spielman’s recommendations are immediately retracted
2. Ofsted issue an apology for a recommendation that was made without appropriate evidence and foresight
3. Ofsted publish the names of the organisations with whom it has consulted
Thank you very much for your time, and we look forward to your response.