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UK court upholds school Islamic headscarf ban

[JURIST] The UK High Court [official website] on Wednesday denied an application for judicial review stemming from a 12-year old Muslim girl's challenge to a public school policy that prevented her from wearing her full-face veil (niqab) [Wikipedia backgrounder; JURIST news archive] at school. Mr. Justice Silber found the policy appropriate, on the grounds that the veil would dampen teacher interaction with students as the teacher would not be able to read facial expressions. In addition, Silber found that the policy fosters a sense of equality among students and could prevent an unwanted visitor from using a veil as a disguise to enter the school undetected by administrators. Parents of the student had sought a judicial review to grant an injunction against the school dress policy. BBC News has more.

A UK teacher's aide last October planned to appeal a lower UK court's decision [JURIST report] rejecting her discrimination claims against her school for refusing to let her wear a niqab in the classroom. In February, press reports claimed that a panel of senior UK judges had approved new as-yet-unreleased courtroom rules that would ban full Islamic veils in the courts [JURIST report].

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