Muslim family upset by school ban on headgear

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Michelle Jones

THE SA Human Rights Commission is investigating the case of a brother and sister allegedly kicked out of a Kraaifontein school for wearing traditional Islam headgear.

Sakeenah Dramat, 16, and her brother Bilaal, 13, were reportedly asked by teachers at Eben Donges High in Cape Town to remove their headscarf and fez on the first day of school last week.

The siblings’ mother, Nabila Dramat, said she and her husband Adam had attended an introductory meeting at the Kraaifontein school that day.

“Then we were called in by the school to say that we must fetch the children and that it was against the school’s code of conduct for the children to wear the Islamic headgear”.

Dramat said Sakeenah had refused to remove her headscarf while Bilaal, who suffered from a nervous condition, had removed his fez as he was afraid to cause any trouble.

“It was very traumatic for him.”

She will not allow her children to attend school without their headgear “because it is against our Islamic beliefs”.

The siblings had already missed several days of school. “It is very sad. They are heartbroken to be out of school for such a simple reason.”

The Dramats chose to send the children to Eben Donges because it was closer to home and recognised as a strong academic school.

SA Human Rights Commission spokesman Isaac Mangena said: “We have received this complaint. We are investigating the matter and have engaged with the (education) department, the school and the parents.”

School principal Wilfred Taylor referred calls to the Western Cape Education Department for comment.

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