Sweden: Sweden Authorizes Students to Wear the Islamic Veil at School

On the 23rd of January the Swedish Ministry of Education said that the Islamic veil would be permitted in Swedish schools. This decision confrims the one made in the spring of 2006 with regards to the Minerva Free School, in northern Sweden. In the winter of 05-06, a 7 year old student who was not allowed to wear the veil was pulled from school by her parents. The internal regualtions of the Free School forbade hats or head coverings – and in the same spirit, the veil. This regualtion was contested by the parents of the young girl. “It is a question of discipine, not of religion,” explained Lars Isacsson, head of the Minerva School. “But it has become quite a sensitive issue because of this debate over Muslims and the veil.” According to the Swedish constitution, the veil cannot be prohibited at schools because the freedom of religion is guaranteed. By contrast, since 2003 the burqa can be forbidden in Swedish schools for reasons of pedagogy or safety, for example in a chemistry class.