STOCKHOLM (Agencies): Teachers donned veils in solidarity with their Muslim students protesting a ban against headscarves in primary schools and preschools across the Skurup town of Sweden. Voted in by local Skurup party, the right-wing Sweden Democrats and the liberal-conservative Moderates, the ban includes both students and staff, thus provoking a strong reaction.
“Malmö’s Young Muslims” initiated protests and over two hundred people gathered outside the Skurup’s town hall to demonstrate.
“The ban was racist and it denied Muslim women’s right to their bodies and their democratic freedom of choice,” said Tasnim Raoof, the chair of Malmö’s Young Muslims.
The protesters continued to defend their rights even though counter-protesters chanted slogans like “Freedom for Swedes” and “Close Islam” across them.
In the light of these developments, six non-Muslim teachers at Prästamosseskolan School wore veils to show their support for Muslim students.
“The students get excited when they see that we also have veils. They feel that we support them,” Marit, a teacher at a Swedish school, told the Aftonbladet newspaper. Mattias Liedholm, headmaster of Prästamosseskolan, stated that he refuses to comply with the ban on headscarves. “Neither I nor any of my colleagues will enforce it. Then it becomes a matter of personnel for the municipality to handle,” he said.
Andreas Lindholm, a lawyer with the Swedish National Agency for Education, said that the ban on headscarves is contrary to the European Convention on Freedom of Religion.
Although school staff are expected to comply with the ban decision, local teacher Naouel Aissaoui pledged to stop working in Skurup if the ban is enforced.
According to the Pew Research Centre, the number of Muslims in Sweden is over 800,000 or 8.1 percent of the population today.