Al-Hijrah Islamic school’s appeal bid refused

Birmingham's al-Hijra School

A bid to appeal a ruling of sex discrimination at an Islamic faith school in Birmingham has been rejected by the Court of Appeal.

Al-Hijrah school in Birmingham was found guilty of sex discrimination last month for segregating children in all activities from the age of nine.

An application by the Association of Muslim Schools (AMS) to appeal the Court of Appeal’s ruling to the Supreme Court was filed.

However, the Court of Appeal refused the appeal and decided that the AMS cannot be named as an “interested party” in the case of Al-Hijrah school.

The association’s request to appeal was rejected by judges at the Court of Appeal who said the school accepted the October’s ruling and was working with Birmingham City Council, which maintains the school, to implement the decision on segregation.

“The school does not encourage or support the desire of AMS to appeal in order to overturn the decision,” the judges said.

They added that even if the association’s bid had not been rejected, “an appeal would have no real prospect of success”.

Ashfaque Ali Chowdhury, the chair of AMS, claims last month’s ruling “may have created a conflict” between its duties to both ensure its schools comply with their legal obligations and “act in a way which is consistent with Islamic teachings and practices”.

This conflict “compromises the association’s ability to fulfil what it understands are its purposes”, and puts those schools that segregate pupils at “immediate risk of challenge” from statutory bodies and other interested parties.

The AMS has 10 Muslim schools in its membership that formally segregate boys and girls in a mixed-sex setting, and believes there may be more Muslim schools as well as those of other faiths that do the same.

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