URGENT MEDIA ALERT: BBC Website poll – Should Headscarves be banned in School?

Islamic Human Rights Commission

22 December 2003

URGENT MEDIA ALERT: BBC Website poll – Should Headscarves be banned in School?

The BBC website is currently running a poll on the above, following the President Chirac’s decision to ban the hijab in public schools in France. Please urgently email the BBC website administrators and editors at


or fill in the Feedback Form at http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/help/3281777.stm

and politely demand that it should be removed and an appropriate apology issued.

Points to remember:

The decision to ban the headscarf is a clear violation of basic human rights and as such the BBC website is also undermining these rights by allowing people to voice their support not only of this case but about Muslim girls in general.

Prohibiting Muslim girls from wearing hijab, denies them the right to choose their own path to liberation and is therefore a violation of women\’s rights. The ban infringes Muslim girls’ right to freedom of religion, guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights, the UN Charter and other international treaties. It will compel many Muslim girls to have to make the extremely difficult choice between their education and their religion. This may well lead to many girls deciding to leave school rather than abandon an essential element of their faith. This will also lead to a violation of the right to education and the right to work, both guaranteed under many international human rights treaties which France has ratified. The BBC is therefore undermining women\’s rights by allowing this poll to be run.

Please note that the BBC launched a similar poll on their website almost 2 years ago in the wake of the hijab ban in state schools in Singapore. Only after receiving numerous complaints on the issue, did it remove the poll from the website.

The poll and article on the French decision can be viewed at:


A Briefing on the headscarf ban is now available online on the IHRC website at


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“And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper.”

Holy Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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