Hijab discussion covers up children’s rights / News / The Foreigner

Hijab discussion covers up children’s rights. Ombudsman expresses concern about polarisation. Temperatures about Iraqi deportees and Prophet Mohammed cartoons may have cooled for now, but the discussion about banning hijabs in children’s schools continues its journey towards a cultural-political head.Rights and wrongs If a ban on hijabs in schools is introduced, Norway will once again be contravening an article from the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Children’s Ombudsman says it won’t support it.

hijabs, children, schools, ombudsman, kristin, halvorsen, sv, socialist, left, far-right, frp,



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Hijab discussion covers up children’s rights

Published on Thursday, 4th March, 2010 at 13:29 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 4th March 2010 at 15:08.

Ombudsman expresses concern about polarisation.

Safinatun Najah School (Illus. photo)
Safinatun Najah School (Illus. photo)
Photo: amrufm/Flickr


Temperatures about Iraqi deportees and Prophet Mohammed cartoons may have cooled for now, but the discussion about banning hijabs in children’s schools continues its journey towards a cultural-political head.

Rights and wrongs

If a ban on hijabs in schools is introduced, Norway will once again be contravening an article from the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Children’s Ombudsman says it won’t support it.

 “Article 14 gives children a right to freedom of religious self-expression. A religious symbol also has to be a major problem in Norwegian society for the state to ban it, and we can’t see that it is for the moment,” Camilla Kayed, one of the Ombudsman’s advisors, tells The Foreigner.

Last week, Kristin Halvorsen – leader of the Socialist Left Party (SV) and Minister of Education – said she couldn’t see any religious reason for children wearing a hijab.

“I don’t agree,” says Kayed. “Society has to accept that non-Norwegian religious symbols are part of a multi-cultural community. If you prohibit hijabs, you also have to impose a ban on symbols from other religious communities.”

But the Ombudsman supports Halvorsen in her view that it should be the child’s rather than its parents’ decision to wear them.

Isolated

Camilla Kayed
Camilla Kayed
Barneombudet
The discussion has also become more polarised recently. Kayed thinks there are several reasons.

“It must have something to do with that hijab-wearing children are new in Norway. The Ombudsman fears this is part of a movement towards banning everything foreign. All discussions concerning inter-cultural issues become polarised eventually,” she says.

Religious communities’ self-isolation from the rest of society regarding their children’s education is another. Kayed says the Ombudsman gets many emails from parents about leave of absence from core subjects in Norwegian schools because of their religious beliefs.

“We’re trying to counteract the polarisation by expanding the discussion to include all religious symbols worn by children, not just hijabs. The state shouldn’t just debate the issue in relation to immigrants, but other religious communities as well. We have to move away from a ban to thinking about alternative ways to avoid the wearing of religious symbols.”

Kayed doubts a veto on hijabs will come into force, as Norway is a signatory to the UN’s convention.

“The Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed concern that children’s rights to education are not being followed up. Norway is being watched,” says Kayed.




Published on Thursday, 4th March, 2010 at 13:29 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 4th March 2010 at 15:08.

This post has the following tags: hijabs, children, schools, ombudsman, kristin, halvorsen, sv, socialist, left, far-right, frp, .





  
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