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Brussels students protest headscarf ban in education

Credit: Belga

On Sunday afternoon, Brussels students under the name of #HijabisFightBack gathered at the Mont des Arts for a demonstration against the headscarf ban at a Brussels university college.

The demonstration is a consequence of the decision of the Constitutional Court not to annul the ban on headscarves imposed by the Fransisco Ferrer university college.

That decision came after a complaint of five students at the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, Unia. Unia tried to come to a solution with the school, but those negotiations were unsuccessful. The school’s lawyer then went to the Constitutional Court.

The demonstration is an initiative of the feminist collective Imazi Reine, the collective Belge Comme Vous and the non-profit organisation La 5e vague.

“At first we did not necessarily want to demonstrate,” Fatima Zohra Ait El Maâti of Imazi Reine told Bruzz. “We are very aware of the coronavirus crisis. That is why we stayed at home for months. But in September, people had to go to school, and this decision created the need to react quickly,” she added.

Credit: Belga

Credit: Belga

The police gave permission for the demonstration to take place, with a maximum of 400 participants. However, approximately 1,000 people are present, reports Le Soir.

“We, as an organisation, will do our utmost to respect the rules. There is a zero-tolerance around the security measures: everyone has to wear a mask and we will hand out disinfection gel. But we cannot control how many people are coming,” she added.

“A headscarf ban means a serious impact on the right to education and the right to self-determination. Hundreds of students may have to give up their studies,” said Fatima Zohra Ait El Maâti.

“Making decisions about what I can wear, cannot happen without me sitting at the table,” she added. “That did not happen at the Constitutional Court. Now we want to speak in our own name,” she added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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