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NY School Organizes ‘Hijab Day’ For Non-Muslim Students

MV303Mustard_large  NY School Organizes ‘Hijab Day’ For Non-Muslim Students MV303Mustard largeOfficials at Rochester’s World School of Inquiry spent last week fielding dozens of calls from parents angry about a “World Hijab Day” event that encouraged girls to wear the Muslim religious head covering.  Sophomore Eman Muthana wears a hijab to school and wrote a letter to principal Sheela Webster asking if the school can put on its own World Hijab Day at the school last Friday,WHAM reports.  Webster approved the event – designed to educate students about the religious purposes behind the hijab – but did not inform parents until after the media reports of the event sparked backlash online, and angry calls to the school, according to WHEC.  “As a high school teacher for over 30 years, let me say that this is wrong on so many levels,” Jim Farnholz wrote, according to the news site.  “All religions are taught in our global studies classes. That being said, that is where understanding, tolerance and the good and bad of religion and history are taught. This, however, is a clear violation of separation of church and state.” WHEC reports teachers brought in about 150 scarves in on Friday and wrapped up volunteers before the first bell. The school set up tables in the cafeteria, where girls tried on a hijab and boys were given carnations for support, according to WHEC, which described the event as “student run.” “We wanted them to experience it and feel how we feel,” Muthana, originally of Yemen, told the site. “I just feel proud that I’m sharing my culture.” “I love that we’re having the open conversation. I think that’s the first step into making it a more open and tolerant environment. I think this is the perfect school for it,” English-as-a-Second-Language teacher Kelly Lalonde told WHAM.

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A district spokesman told the site officials consulted with an attorney about the World Hijab Day event, and were advised that “there would be more of a legal issue if the school said no to the event” than to hold lessons on the Muslim scarf.  Regardless, Webster, who also donned a hijab, was adamant the school did not promote religion, but rather cultural acceptance. “Our perspective in it was not religious – it was really about experiential,” she told WHAM. “We are an experiential school; we engage kids in all kinds of activities and projects all of the time, so the perspective of being able to learn what a hijab is, why some women choose to wear it and why some women don’t choose to wear it, and we provide the opportunity to experience it; it is well within protocol of experiential learning.”  She told WHEC the lessons on the hijab had nothing to do with the Muslim religion, it “was actually around learning about the cloth.”  School board president Van Henri White didn’t seem to have a problem with the hijab day when he stopped in on the event Friday.  “She’s not trying to make anybody else anything other than who they are,” White said of Muthana, “but she wants people to accept who she is.”

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 WHEC reporter Brett Davidsen asked: “Does it put any pressure on the kids who don’t want to participate – does it put them in an awkward position?”  “I don’t know,” White replied. “Look around, I don’t see that.”  Many parents and commenters online were offended, nonetheless.  “What lesson will they wear a Yarmulke in? Or the Christian cross? Or the Hindu turban?” Dan Lane posted. “Funny how it always seems to be the Muslims they learn about, even in Common Core.”  “How disgusting and irresponsible for any educator to encourage a child to wear a symbol of oppression, whether it be religious or cultural,” Rebecca Sluman wrote.  “Don’t you kids dare wear a shirt with the American flag on it, someone WILL be offended,” Rick Bentley added.

[1] Victor Skinner, NY School Organizes ‘Hijab Day’ For Non-Muslim StudentsEAG News, FEBRUARY 10, 2016
[2] ROBERT SPENCER, Rochester, NY school organizes ‘Hijab Day’ for non-Muslim students, Jihad Watch, FEBRUARY 12, 2016 2:07 PM
[3] Jordan Mazza, Rochester City School Allows Students to Recognize World Hijab Day, TWC News, Friday, February 5, 2016 at 08:12 PM EST
[4] Terresa Monroe-Hamilton, American School Forces Female Students To Wear The Hijab – Because… World Hijab Day, Right Wing News, 13 Feb, 2016
[5] HAPPY WORLD HIJAB DAY: American School Forces Female Students to Wear the Hijab, Girls Just Want to Have Guns, February 13, 2016
[6] High School Holds ‘Hijab Day’ for Students, TeaParty.org, February 13, 2016
[7] New York School Organizes ‘Hijab Day’ For Non-Muslim Students, End Times Headlines, 10 FEBRUARY, 2016
[8] Students try on headscarves for World Hijab Day, The Battalion,  Tuesday, February 2, 2016 12:27 am
[9] KELSIE SMITH, Rochester school participates in World Hijab Day, 13WHAM, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5TH 2016
[10] TIM LOUIS MACALUSO, Hijab Day brings celebration and some controversy to School 58, Rochester City Newspaper, FRI, FEB 5, 2016 AT 1:30 PM
[11] Sara Ampara, I went along to LUU’s World Hijab Day event, The Tab, FEBRUARY 10, 2016
[12] Carley Mossbrook, Day in Her Hijab offers students chance to explore culture of Muslim women, USA Today, February 11, 2016 2:04 pm
[15] PAMELA GELLER, Islamic Groups Push ‘World Hijab Day’ To Undermine Western Opposition, Pamella Geller, February 3, 2016
[16] DEAN JAMES, NY Students Forced To Wear ‘Hijabs’ All Day, Irate Parents Respond With ‘Special’ Surprise, America’s Freedom Fighters, FEBRUARY 11, 2016


About Bill Wallace

Bill Wallace is a self-fashioned writter, a computer programmer and cybermarketer from Quebec City, Canada who decided to enter the political arena after his disillusionment with the socialist system under which he was living in the French Canadian province of Quebec.

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