Europe

British school bans bearded Muslim boys

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A British school has banned two Muslim boys from attending classes in a discriminatory approach because they refused to shave off their beards, media reports said.

Mount Carmel Roman Catholic high school in Accrington, Lancashire placed both 14-year-olds in isolation from the start of the new term.

A relative of one of the children told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, that the decision to ban them was “pure discrimination”.

“Because these boys cannot shave their beards for religious reasons, they are being put in isolation for six-and-a-half hours every day”, said the family member, who did not wish to be named. “They are not being allowed to mix with anybody or speak to friends. It is pure discrimination.

“They chose that school because it is within their area and has good results. The school has to have an open policy and they have to take in people from all religions”, added the relative of one of the boys.

Earlier in January, a local Conservative councilor strongly warned the school after its staff including the headmaster posted a spoof version of themselves dancing to the hit Korean pop song Gangnam Style. Teachers appeared in the video, which was viewed thousands of times, wearing towels from the waist down.

This is while, head-teacher Xavier Bowers responded to the beard ban by claiming that the matter was about dress code and not about religion.

“We have not taken this decision lightly. I have spent quite a lot of time researching the issue and speaking to Muslim elders”, Bowers claimed.

The matter seems to have been complicated by the fact that two other boys were allowed to keep their beards towards the end of last academic year.

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