Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The triumph of common sense

From the Telegraph:

At last, the Law Lords have injected some sanity into the case of Shabina Begum, the Bedfordshire schoolgirl who had insisted when she was 15 that it was her "human right" to defy her school's dress code by covering herself from head to toe in the full Islamic jilbab.

Yesterday, they overturned a ruling by the Appeal Court that Denbigh High School in Luton had broken the law by insisting that she should wear the tunic and trousers of the shalwar kameez instead....
Every word of the Law Lords' ruling yesterday rang with religious tolerance and common sense. The school, said Lord Bingham, had taken "immense pains" to devise a dress code that respected Muslim beliefs "in an inclusive, unthreatening and uncompetitive way".

Lord Hoffman made an excellent point, too, when he said that there had been nothing to stop Shabina from going to a single-sex school, or to one that permitted the jilbab. To change schools might not have been entirely convenient for her, he said, "but people sometimes have to suffer some inconvenience for their beliefs".

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