Yasmin Elsayed, a 9-year old girl who was prohibited from wearing a hijab (an Islamic head scarf) at the W. A. Mozart School in the La Reina borough of Chile’s capital Santiago, was allowed to register again for the 2011 school year this week.
The school claimed the hijab was not part of the official school uniform. Yasmin’s parents complained that school officials had said their daughter would not be able to enrol for the following school year if she continued to wear the head scarf.
Muslims represent less than one percent of Chile’s population.
On Sunday, Education Minister Joaquín Lavín announced his support for the family at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Santiago. The meeting was also attended by the ambassadors of Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and Jordan. Lavín informed the family that authorities had contacted the school, and that Yasmin would be able to continue her education there.
“The Education Act protects the right of Yasmin to wear the head scarf along with her uniform” Lavín said.
“This is something that has to do with a deep religious conviction.”
Lavín added that there can be no religious discrimination, and that Chile must respect multiculturalism and diversity.
The school indicated that Yasmin could continue wearing her hijab without problems. For their part, members of Yasmin’s family said she would wear a hijab that was the same color as the school’s uniform to avoid future problems.
By Dominique Farrell – Santiago Times