Governor at school which banned hijab said he was on “crusade to limit Islamisation”

Arif Qawi

The Chair of Governors at an East London primary school which banned the hijab talked about his “personal crusade” to “severely limit the Islamisation process.”

This week authorities at Arif Qawi’s school – the majority Muslim St Stephen’s Primary in Newham – banned the hijab for children up to the age of seven. They had already banned the hijab for young children in sports lessons because it “hindered movement” and, according to Qawi, the school discourages them from fasting during Ramadan.

In their public comments both Qawi and the school’s headteacher, Neena Lall, emphasised health and safety and integration issues as being behind their decision.

But in a Facebook post in November Qawi said: “I am on a personal crusade to severely limit the Islamisation process, and turn these beautiful children into modern, British citizens, able to achieve the very best in life, without any restrictions and boundaries.”

The Facebook post was in the context of praising Stephen’s Primary School achievements after it topped The Sunday Times League as the best primary school in the country.

The supposed Islamisation of schools has been a hot topic since the “Trojan Horse” affair in Birmingham, which was alleged to be an organised attempt to introduce an “Islamist ethos” into several schools in Birmingham.

Several Muslim teachers and educationalists were removed from their posts and outstanding schools were put into Special Measures. The letter upon which the alleged plot was based later turned out to be a fake.

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