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Muslim girls wearing Hijab are banned from schooling in India | Stories of Islamophobia

Bengaluru, India – When AH Almas, 18, and two of his classmates entered their classroom on the morning of December, the teacher told them: “Get out.”

Muslim girls were not allowed in the classroom because they wore a hijab, or scarf.

“When we got to the door of the classroom, the teacher said we could not enter with the Hijab,” Almas told Al Jazeera. “They asked us to remove it.”

Since then, a group of six Muslim students at a state-run women’s college in Udupi district of Karnataka in southern India have been forced to stay out of class because college officials say they are breaking the law because the Hijab is not part of education. uniform.

The group meets with journalists to ban Hijab within their classrooms at Udupi College [Al Jazeera]

But the girls told Al Jazeera that the Hijab was “part of their faith” and that doing so was “their constitutional right”. They have maintained a defiant attitude even though the authorities claim to use “coercive methods” to force them to act.

The girls have been known to be out of class since December 31 when they allegedly go to college every day.

“We will not move, no,” Aliya Assadi, a member of the group, told Al Jazeera.

The image of students wearing Hijab and college attire sitting on the steps outside their classroom has spread on social media.

“It is because of this picture that our story was revealed on the radio,” Assadi said.

Their protests angered college officials who, according to the group, forced them to write a letter acknowledging that they had missed the course on their own.

“We tried to resist but the head teacher and teachers threatened to destroy our jobs,” Muskan Zainab, another student, told Al Jazeera.

Zainab said she was happy that “the whole world” had seen them forced to stay out of class, thus making sure that the supervisors’ statements were not distorted.

However, the students also face embarrassment and discrimination over their refusal.

“Staying outside the classroom all day is not a fun thing to do. Our teachers and classmates ridicule us. He asks us our problem when opening the Hijab. Why not just follow the rules, he asks, “Almas told Al Jazeera.

“One of my friends got sick because of this torture.”

Government Girls Pre-University College, Udupi, KarnatakaThe Government Girls Pre-University College in Udupi, Karnataka where the event took place [Al Jazeera]

The students said they were concerned about the number of attendees required to write the annual exam.

Rudre Gowda, head of the college, told Al Jazeera that he would not allow students to wear the Hijab in classrooms “because it is not part of the uniform”. He said he was following instructions from the ministry of education.

Gowda said this was the first time such incidents had taken place in the college, but the students said they had experienced similar problems in the past.

“Once a teacher made a hijab student sit down in the middle of the class and took off his hijab. We were very embarrassed for choosing to wear the hijab. But at that moment, he allowed us to enter the classroom,” Athiya, a student at Manipal University in Karnataka, told Al Jazeera.

Hijab ban has sparked controversy in India as student groups criticize college officials for favoring Muslims.

“We stand firm with solidarity and support. We want those who forbid Muslim girls to wear the Hijab to be suspended and for these girls to be allowed to enter their classrooms with the Hijab, their dignity and dignity,” said Afreen Fatima, secretary of the Fraternity Movement in New. Delhi, told Al Jazeera.

“It’s Islamophobia. It’s racism,” he said.

Students interact with police and college officialsThe students who are participating in the demonstrations are chatting with police and other college officials [Al Jazeera]

A local bar association has written to the state government to conduct an investigation into college officials and teachers for “harassing” students.

“The refusal of education for young Muslim students and forcing them to choose between education and their faith is a matter of human rights and should be done so,” the council wrote in a letter.

The Campus Front of India (CFI), a non-profit Muslim student organization in southern India, has urged the college to abolish its Hijab rules and to dress students in their studies.

“These girls are seeking great independence. We will take part in the war, “Aseel Akram, a CFI member in Udupi, told Al Jazeera.

Students at the Campus Front of India office in Udupi, Karnataka.Muslim students at the Campus Front of India office in Udupi, Karnataka [Al Jazeera]

The student body met with college and university officials to resolve the issue but Akram said nothing had happened. He said college and state officials were being pressured by the government to deny the girls’ rights.

Karnataka is run by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

K Raghupati Bhat, a BJP councilor in the region who also chairs the Udupi College of Technology, told the students ‘parents at the conference that the college would continue with its uniform rules, regardless of the students’ demands.

After a dispute over the Hijab in Udupi, students from at least two other colleges in the state, including members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), staged a protest while wearing saffron scarves inside the colleges, demanding that they be banned. Hijab.

ABVP is a student body affiliated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s right-wing mentor and millions of members in India all dedicated to their cause. making the Hindu world in India.

Over the years, Karnataka has seen a rise in Hinduism and the practice of religious minorities in the state, especially Muslims and Christians.

Last month, a Karnataka regional conference passed a law banning religious conversion, with the BJP government claiming that Christian missionary groups were acting. “strong conversion” of the Hindus, a charge that was denied by Christian religious leaders.

Returning to college in Udupi, the girls told Al Jazeera that they would continue to assert their rights.

“We will not be shaken, no,” Assadi said.

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