Government to Take Issue to Court
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – An incident in which a Muslim trainee teacher was asked to remove her hijab when she turned up for employment at a school, will be taken to court.
Acting Prime Minister Colm Imbert and Minister of Education Anthony Garcia have confirmed that Attorney General Faris Al Rawi will take the matter to court.
Garcia said his ministry has already received a report from the principal of the school.
The incident happened earlier this week when Nafiesa Nakhid, a young Muslim woman went to the Lakshmi Girls Hindu College to report to work as a trainee teacher.
It’s reported that Nakhid, 23, was told to remove the hijab before entering the compound and that she could replace it at the end of the school day.
A hijab is a head covering worn by Muslim women.
Nakhid, who took to social media following the incident, said she chose not to take up duties if it meant taking off her hijab.
Nakhid, who was qualified to teach mechanical engineering, said she left the school and reported the matter to the Ministry of Education that assigned her to the school .
According to Garcia, the Education Ministry will write to the school’s board before the attorney general takes up the matter.
In a statement earlier this week, Garcia described the incident as a “flagrant disregard of the laws enshrined in the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago.”
The move, he said, “sets Trinidad and Tobago back in terms of the steps we have made for religious inclusion and tolerance.”
Garcia noted that Lakshmi Girls Hindu College is a government-assisted secondary school and therefore operates within the same guidelines of public schools in Trinidad and Tobago.
“No institution, organisation or person can create any rules that supersede those enshrined in our Constitution,” the Education Minister said.
The decision by the school has been condemned by several organisations, including and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar. – CMC