Church contests wearing of hijab by students

NAIROBI, KENYA: A church has gone to court seeking to stop Muslim students at a school in Isiolo County from wearing hijab.

The Methodist Church that sponsors St Paul's Kiwanjani Day Mixed Secondary School wants Muslim students to adhere to the institution's rules and regulations by wearing the appropriate school uniform.

The case has been certified as urgent by High Court Judge Mumbi Ngugi.

She has directed the parties to file and serve the relevant documentation. The matter will be heard on Monday at the Meru High Court.

The church has named the Teacher's Service Commission, County Director of Education in Isiolo and the District Education Officer in the same county as respondents.

Through lawyer Henry Kurauka, the church says the row on school uniform arose after June 22, this year, when the Isiolo Deputy Governor Mohamed Guleid, during a prize-giving day, made an informal request that all the Muslim students should wear hijabs and white trousers in addition to the school uniform.

Kurauka says that a week later, unknown people distributed hijabs and white trousers to the students which they started wearing to school, together with open shoes.

This, he maintains, is in total disregard of the rules and regulations set up by the school adding that this has caused tension and disharmony in the school.

The court heard that the Muslim students went on the rampage and destroyed property after the school imposed the school regulations to wear the prescribed uniform.

Kurauka said the school principal was transferred over his reluctance to allow the changing of the school uniform.