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.
Our existing policy decided in relation to the French ban on the hijab/veil in schools is printed at the bottom of this page. It opposes that ban. Indeed our existing policy is not to support bans on the hijab in any context.
The current debate is not a debate about policies for the whole of society, or for adult society, but about schools. Therefore comments about what women chose to wear, or not wear, are external to this discussion. As are comments about general bans.
Articles to date
Click the links below, listed in date order, to see the articles
- "Banning hijab in schools" by David Pendletone, Solidarity 517, 18 September 2019
- "Criticise religion, no to state bans" by Daniel Randall, and further down the linked page, a reply, "How else to protect children?", by David Pendletone. Both in Solidarity 518, 25 September 2019
- "Debating a ban on the hijab in schools" Further contributions by Katy Dollar, Ian Townson, David Pendletone and Matt Kinsella in Solidarity 522
- "A crass flourish" A reply by Stephen Wood to David Pendeltone and Matt Kinsella in Solidarity 523
- "The hijab: 'preventing common impositions' " Maryam Namazie, an activist with the Council of Ex-Muslims and other secularist groups, She argues that a state ban on conspicuous religious symbols for children in Solidarity 526
- "Against the school hijab ban demand" by Ben Tausz, Solidarity 527
- "The hijab and the Saudi factor " by Sadia Hameed, a spokesperson for the Council of ex-Muslims in Britain, Solidarity 529
Policy passed in 2004
1. We oppose the hijab as a social mechanism of female subordination, and we oppose pressure on girls wear the hijab. Our priority is to help and support secularists and leftists in the mainly-Muslim communities who fight that pressure.
2. We are for universal secular education. We should seek to launch a counter-campaign in Britain against faith schools, the intrusion of religion in ordinary state schools, and the toleration, in the name of multi-culturalism, of Muslim girls being excluded by parental pressure from parts of education.
3. We do not support the new French law [banning the hijab in schools]. It will probably be counter-productive. It fails to allow the necessary space for dealing sensitively and respectfully with teenagers’ desires to experiment in dealing with the world around them.
Debate in 2004
The links below are in date order. Click on them to see the articles (they are likely not comprehensive - if you find other articles, let us know):
- Speech by Azar Majedi (not a member)
- Texts for national committee discussion
- Discussion piece in Solidarity 46, after the NC discussion
- Discussion piece in Solidarity 47
- Discussion piece in Solidarity 48
- Discussion piece in Solidarity 49
- Internal discussion bulletin ("DB") 242, some point in April 2004 (DBs might not be the right order WRT to Solidarity)
- DB 245, April 2004
- DB 246, April 2004
- Discussion piece in Solidarity 50
- Discussion piece in Solidarity 50
- A motion for AWL conference, 2004
- Replies and an alternate motion to AWL conference, 2004
- A general report of the conference