Hijab ban proposal sparks debate, protests in Denmark | Human Rights News

The Danish Fee for the Forgotten Ladies’s Battle – a physique arrange by Denmark’s ruling Social Democratic Get together – has recommended that the nation’s authorities ban hijabs (Muslim headscarves) for college kids in Danish elementary faculties.

The August 24 proposal is one in every of 9 suggestions with the acknowledged intention of stopping “honour-related social management” of women from minority backgrounds.

The opposite suggestions suggest offering Danish language programs, selling fashionable little one upbringing practices in ethnic minority households, and strengthening sexual schooling in elementary faculties.

Huda Makai Asghar, 15, can be pressured to take off her headband if the ban is applied. The ninth grader on the Kokkedal Skole – a faculty outdoors of the Danish capital, Copenhagen, with near 800 college students – has been carrying the hijab for 2 years.

“I’ve all the time identified that we’ve got freedom of faith in Denmark. I can put on what I need, and I can imagine in what I like. So after I heard concerning the proposal, I used to be stunned,” she informed Al Jazeera on the telephone.

Asghar feels the concept of a ban violates her freedom, and that of women like her, and that it’s incorrect to pressure her to take the headband off.

“I can’t try this; it is part of me,” she stated.

People protesting
The Fee for the Forgotten Ladies’s Battle proposed a hijab ban as one in every of 9 suggestions [Courtesy of Lamia Ibnhsain]

The ban proposal has sparked a backlash in Denmark.

Iram Khawaja, an affiliate professor on the Danish College of Training at Aarhus College, has been outspoken in opposition to the proposal.

Her analysis focuses on how kids from spiritual and ethnic minorities navigate Danish society, and she or he is co-founder of the Skilled Psychology Community In opposition to Discrimination.

In keeping with Khawaja, a ban is not going to clear up any of the problems confronted by ladies who’re topic to social management.

“Quite the opposite, a ban can add to greater points. The ladies who’re already being uncovered to damaging social management shall be put underneath growing stress,” she informed Al Jazeera.

“It’s problematic to equate carrying the hijab with damaging social management – there are additionally ladies who don’t put on the hijab who’re uncovered to damaging social management,” Khawaja added.

In keeping with the fee’s report (PDF), the “use of scarves in elementary faculty can create a division between kids in two teams – ‘us’ and ‘them’”.

The examine was carried out by the analysis corporations Als Analysis and Epinion on behalf of the Danish Ministry of Training. It’s based mostly on a survey of 1,441 college students in sixth to eighth grades from 19 elementary faculties and eight unbiased and personal faculties, in addition to 22 interviews with college students and 17 interviews with academics.

In keeping with Khawaja, a examine from 2018 on the extent of damaging social management confirmed that few Danish faculty kids – 8 % of the members within the examine – are literally uncovered to social management.

“The vast majority of ladies carrying the hijab are doing it of their very own free will,” Khawaja stated.

In keeping with her, merely making the advice and the talk that can comply with may have damaging penalties.

“It can, in fact, have penalties if the ban is put into motion, however I imagine there are already damaging outcomes now. Merely placing the proposal out there’s already stigmatising, problematising, and casting suspicion on a big group of spiritual minorities,” she stated.

“Though the intentions are good, it finally ends up stigmatising and disempowering those you are attempting to assist.”

Lone Jørgensen, principal of Tilst Skole, an elementary faculty in Jutland with roughly 700 college students, doesn’t assist the advisable ban, both.

“The ban would create a regulation between the youngsters and their dad and mom, and the youngsters would get caught in between, “Jørgensen informed Al Jazeera.

“My job is to run faculty for everybody, the place there’s room for everybody and everyone seems to be of equal worth.”

‘A part of Denmark’

On August 26, a number of thousand folks took to the streets of Copenhagen to protest the ban proposal.

In keeping with the Danish newspapers Arbejderen and B.T., a number of thousand took to the streets.

Midwife and activist Lamia Ibnhsain, 37, organised the occasion, titled “Fingers off our hijabs”.

“I realised that our voices are invisible in society. The preliminary intention with the demonstration was to go to the streets and make our voices heard,” she informed Al Jazeera.

Ibnhsain stated she has had “a variety of tough emotions” following the ban proposal.

She has felt “othered”, positioned underneath suspicion as a mom, and she or he fears a ban would possibly add to some ladies feeling “incorrect” in comparison with others.

“Muslim ladies carrying the hijab are in every single place in Danish society. They’re docs, psychologists, bus drivers, and artists. They’re part of Denmark,” she stated.

Ibnhsain is a mom to 2 ladies – an eight-year-old and a 16-year-old.

Her older daughter wears the hijab, whereas the youngest wears it on days when she feels prefer it.

Ibnhsain explains how speaking to her ladies a couple of attainable ban has been powerful.

“My ladies are carrying the hijab with pleasure and happiness. The hijab is a matter of the center, and it ought to not at all be was a political dialogue,” she stated. “It violates my ladies’ primary rights.”

The fee

The fee was arrange by the present ruling occasion, the Social Democratic Get together, in January.

Though it offered the suggestions unanimously on August 24, two members of the fee afterward retracted their assist for a hijab ban following the talk, which led to one in every of them withdrawing fully from the fee, stating that she couldn’t assist the proposal of a ban.

Hijab ban protest
The advice of a hijab ban has sparked a powerful backlash in Denmark [Courtesy of Lamia Ibnhsain]

In a written response to the criticism of the examine offered to the fee in an electronic mail, the secretariat behind the fee informed Al Jazeera it had been arrange by the federal government and its mission was to current suggestions on how to make sure that all ladies from a minority background may get pleasure from the identical rights and freedoms as different Danish ladies.

“The fee focuses on how Danish society can reinforce the efforts in opposition to honour-related social management, which we all know from analysis is an issue in sure environments in Denmark,” it stated in an electronic mail response.

“The examine from 2018, which is referred to, states that solely 43 % of the ethnic minority ladies within the examine are allowed to see male buddies of their spare time, whereas the identical is the case for 88 % of the ethnic Danish ladies,” the assertion learn.

“And 13 % of ethnic minority ladies are afraid that their households will plan their future in opposition to their will, whereas the identical is the case for five % of the ethnic majority ladies. One of many goals of the fee is to carry suggestions on easy methods to equalise variations like these between Danes who’re ethnic minorities and majorities,” it added.

The secretariat stated the fee consisted of 9 members with completely different backgrounds and information – “they’re folks with sensible expertise, analysis backgrounds, and individuals who have skilled these points personally. All know concerning the challenges associated to countering honour-related social management”.

The fee is about to make extra suggestions within the coming months.

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