Press Release: Dismay as High Court Rejects Schoolgirl’s Discrimination Case


Islamic Human Rights Commission

15th June 2004

Press Release: Dismay as High Court Rejects Schoolgirl’s Discrimination Case
Islamic Dress Code for Women is not an Arena for Negotiation

The Islamic Human Rights Commission is deeply dismayed by the High Court’s ruling today that the ban against a Muslim schoolgirl wearing the jilbab*, a form of Islamic dress, by Denbigh High School was appropriate.

It is particularly alarming given that the school argued inter alia that Shabina Begum’s dress was in fact a health and safety risk. The school has also argued that allows girls to wear a different style of ‘culturally sensitive’ dress i.e. shalwar kameez**, and as such had provided enough options for Ms. Begum.

IHRC notes that the aspersions cast on Muslim dress in such a manner are Islamophobic and vilify Muslim women and girls as a threat and risk to others. As regards alternative uniform options, IHRC further notes that an individual’s religious beliefs cannot be the negotiated in this manner – regardless of what a wider public may feel.

Speaking on behalf of IHRC, Massoud Shadjareh said today:

“It is like asking different members of the Jewish faith what their religious observance requires and then imposing a liberal version over and orthodox one. This decision is simply unacceptable.”

The Islamic Human Rights Commission has been undertaking extensive Europe-wide research on discrimination faced by Muslim women – particularly those who dress in an obviously Muslim way. The results for the UK based on a survey of over 500 British women will be published in October this year.

For more information please contact (+44) 20 8904 4222 or (+44) 7958 60 74 75 or (+44) 7903 053362 or email

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183