Oklahima Muslim returns to school with hijab
(Alhamdulillah, praise be to God) CAIR today announced that a Muslim public school student in Oklahoma will be allowed to attend classes wearing an Islamic head scarf, or hijab.
School officials in Muskogee, Okla., had suspended the sixth-grader twice since the beginning of this month because they claimed her hijab violated their dress code policy prohibiting hats, caps, bandanas or other headwear. A school district legal representative told CAIR the Muslim student will be able to attend classes as early as today pending a review of that policy.
A CAIR alert about the girl’s suspension drew international media attention and prompted hundreds of concerned Muslims to contact local and state education officials to request religious accommodation.
“We are pleased this young girl will now be able to continue her education, while at the same time maintaining the right to practice her faith,” said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “We are also confident that school district administrators will ultimately decide in favor of changing the dress code policy to accommodate all students’ religious practices, as mandated by the Constitution and Oklahoma law.” Hooper thanked all those who contacted education officials on the girl’s behalf.
Hooper cited the “free exercise” clause of the First Amendment and the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act as legal support for religious accommodation. The Oklahoma law states: “No governmental entity shall substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion”¦unless it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is: 1. Essential to further a compelling governmental interest; and 2. The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”