An 8-year old girl allegedly had her hijab ripped off her head by a substitute teacher in her Bronx, N.Y., elementary school, the New York Post reports.
According to the substitute teacher, 31-year old Oghenetga Edah, the girl was sitting in the teacher’s chair in the classroom and refused to get out, and she was generally misbehaving in class. Edah claims he tapped the girl on the arm, asking her to move, but she declined. That’s when he told her he was going to remove her hijab, which he did so forcefully that her right eye was injured in the process.
“It was scary,” she told the Daily News. Her father, Mohamed Alzockary, a grocer from Yemen, added, “I didn’t expect a teacher to do that to a child. She’s OK right now … but kids, they’re nervous.”
Edah was immediately removed from the school and fired as soon as the incident was reported. A Department of Education called the alleged incident “completely unacceptable.”
Hijab is both the name of the practice and the name of the veils worn by some Muslim women in accordance with their religious belief. A hijab veil is typically a loose-fitting headscarf worn in public by Muslim women who engage in the practice.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), both the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution bar federal and state governments from making laws or rules that specifically prohibit women from practicing hijab. The 14th Amendment also bars federal and state officials, as well as some private entities, from discriminating against women who choose to practice hijab in accordance with their religious beliefs.
The ACLU also reports that Muslim women who practice hijab are more likely to experience discrimination than those who don’t, with 69 percent of hijabi women reporting at least one incident of discrimination compared with 29 percent of Muslim women who do not practice hijab and have incurred at least one incident of discrimination.
In the wake of the election of President Trump, there has been a rash of reported incidents involving hijabi women experiencing harassment across the country — including in schools. In February, a young woman at a Houston-area high school reported being told by her school that she would be required to provide a written note from a religious cleric to be permitted to wear her hijab at school. The school superintendent tweeted an apology after news of the “hijab permission slip” went public.
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