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MUHURI warns against religious discrimination over Hijab ruling

[MUHURI Chairperson Khelef Khalifa addressing journalists in Mombasa on Thursday. Photo/David Mbunga]

Muslims for Human Rights MUHURI has warned against religious discrimination in learning institutions over Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling on Hijab.

MUHURI Chairman Khelef Khalifa said non-Muslim schools should not force Muslim students, especially girls not to wear Hijab, a veil that covers the head and chest of Muslim women.

“Likewise, Muslims schools should not force non-Muslims to do what does not conform to their religion, it is unconstitutional,” he said.

The concerns come in the wake of Supreme Court ruling that overturned the appellate ruling allowing Muslim students to wear hijabs in non-Muslim schools.

The Apex Court judges said the decision goes against school uniform policy granting schools freedom to decide what rules will govern it.

Khalifa insisted the ruling has been misinterpreted.

“It was on grounds of technicalities. The Court of Appeal and High Court erred in introducing matters that were not in the original petition,” he added.

Khalifa called for proper procedure in filing the case in High Court for religious rights to be protected.

In September 2016, the appeal court overturned an earlier ruling by the High Court that had banned hijabs in public schools.

The three-judge bench said students should be allowed to wear religious items of clothing in addition to their specified school uniforms.

In 2016, Methodist Church through its board of trustees filed a case complaining that the move by the County education office permitting Muslim girls to wear hijab and white trousers had created disparity among students.

The Supreme Court stated “As such we found that both superior courts violated the Petitioner’s right to be heard.”

“We also find that the cross-petition was improperly before the High Court and ought to have been introduced by an interested party and in that light, it should not and could not have been entertained by the Court of Appeal, neither court having proper jurisdiction to do so.”

Khalifa said religious discrimination works in favor of extremist groups and should be avoided at all cost.

He said militants like Al-Shabaab will take advantage and start luring the victims.

“The link between attires and studies has no national importance, Christian and Muslims have lived in harmony schools should not disrupt this,” said Khalifa.

MUHURI Deputy executive director Rahma Gulam said hijab keeps off preying eyes.

Gulam said favoring of one community will only polarize the country further.

“When the Dusit-D2 terror attack happened, no particular religion was targeted, everyone was affected,” she said.