Religion and schools

Against the school hijab ban demand

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 16:58

Ben Tausz

In his most recent letter defending his demand for a hijab ban in schools, David Pendletone says “I … do not think that you need to have a solution [of how a ban might be enforced] to support a ban of the hijab for children in primary schools”.

This is absurd and deeply irresponsible, given the counter-productive and dangerous consequences of many (I would argue all) possible scenarios of enforcement. What it reflects is that this demand seems founded more on an insistence that ‘something must be done’, more than on serious consideration of what would genuinely be likely to improve freedom and


Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 10:16

I wish people would stop talking about “the top 1%” or the “1% v the 99%.” Why should they be regarded as being “the top”?

They are a completely useless parasitic layer on society. Billionaires have not “earned” or “created” their wealth.

It would take someone earning a median wage of £25,000 40,000 years to make £1 billion, assuming they paid no taxes and spent none of their money on essentials such as food, shelter and clothing.

According to the OECD in 2012 the top 0.6% of world population (consisting of adults with more than US$1 million in assets) or the 42 million richest people in the


Published on: Wed, 30/10/2019 - 10:49

Last week, you reported on the Morning Star coming out clearly in support of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

Events have also pushed Socialist Worker to clarify its stance, in fact to show how bad it is.

For some time now SW’s basic line has been: “Shout about something else loudly enough to drown all thoughts about Brexit”.

SW of 22 October, however, explicitly applauded the victory of the nationalist-minded big union bureaucracies against the left-wing rank and file at Labour conference (Brighton, 22-25 September).

It complained that leading Labour MPs’ speeches on 19 October “flew in the face

Debating a ban on the hijab in schools

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 08:56

Hijab school ban would mis-focus

Katy Dollar

We are right to oppose the hijab as a social mechanism of female subordination, and we oppose pressure on girls to wear the hijab.

Our priority is to help and support secularists and leftists in the mainly-Muslim communities and who fight that pressure. It is true that the concept of female modesty, whether motivated by women as tempters, or as requiring protection, embodies women’s oppression and is inseparable from the segregation and subordination of women.

The debate about children rather than teenagers and young people must be had on very

2019 debate on hijabs in schools

Published on: Mon, 21/10/2019 - 18:04

Photo: CC BY 2.0 DFID

In the AWL in the run up to our 2019 conference, we are having a debate on the hijab in schools, after one member brought a motion on it. Please see the editorial note below, and below that, the articles that have been written in Solidarity to date on this. We have internal discussion documents on it, but most of the debate we have had publicly. Third on this page is the policy we passed in 2004, and fourth is some articles from the debate at the time.

Editorial note

Our existing policy decided in relation to the French ban on the hijab/veil in schools is printed at the

Criticise religion, no to state bans

Published on: Mon, 23/09/2019 - 11:29

Daniel Randall

See other articles in this debate here

The analysis of hijab, Islamic religious clothing based on codes of female modesty, which David Pendletone asserts in his article in Solidarity 517 is commonplace amongst many Muslim-background feminists, amongst whom the issue of state bans is highly contested.

Iranian writer Chadhortt Djavan, who does support state bans on hijab for young girls, wrote in her pamphlet ‘Bas les Voiles’ (Down with Veils): “What does veiling do to a girl child? It turns her into a sexual object [...] it defines her essentially by and for men’s eyes.” Algerian socialist

Banning hijab in schools

Published on: Wed, 18/09/2019 - 10:17

David Pendletone

See other articles in this debate here

I will be moving a motion for a ban on the hijab in schools up to Key Stage 3 at the Workers’ Liberty conference in December. I want to explain why.

The hijab isn’t just a piece of clothing, or even just a piece of religious clothing. It has strong political connotations with religious conservatism. It is closely associated with the notion of modesty, a sexist modesty which means women have to cover up to avoid arousing men. Martin Thomas correctly wrote in 2003, during a previous discussion within Workers’ Liberty:

“Whatever it is in an individual’s mind

Tories run scared on LGBT+ education

Published on: Wed, 10/04/2019 - 10:36

David Pendletone

On 1 April, the BBC news website reported that 85 Head teachers from Birmingham had met with officials from the Department of Education.

The meeting followed protests by parents in Birmingham about the implementation of the new curriculum in Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) for primary schools. The new curriculum teaches children that there are different kinds of families, including families where the adults are in lesbian or gay relationships.

The BBC quoted an anonymous Head who said: "We feel completely alone here and feel as if we're getting no overt support whatsoever from the

Speaking out on LGBT+ inclusive education

Published on: Tue, 09/04/2019 - 17:30

Khakan Qureshi spoke to Gemma Short and Kate Harris about protests against No Outsiders and LGBT+ inclusive education in Birmingham.

My name is Khakan Qureshi, I’ve worked in social care for the last 20 years across the spectrum of vulnerable adults, and I currently work with the homeless. I founded the first LGBT+ south Asian support group in Birmingham which is now five years old. I became involved in the situation at Parkfield and Anderton Park schools by tweeting my responses and thoughts on the protests, the BBC invited me onto the Big Questions show to discuss the issue. Andrew Moffat

Schools should teach LGBT rights

Published on: Wed, 06/02/2019 - 11:43

Simon Nelson

In protests by some parents at the Parkfield Community School in Birmingham against the “No Outsiders” project, a number of parents say their religious freedom is threatened by the commitment of the Assistant Headteacher to teach LGBT rights.

The 400 parents, predominantly Muslims, who have signed the petition say that “No Outsiders” goes beyond the idea of treating LGBT people with respect and is not appropriate for young children. Andrew Moffat, the teacher in question, has long been an advocate of LGBT education in schools. He has written a book, Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools.

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