Belgian Schools Ban the Hijab

Dutch-language public schools in Belgium will ban the wearing of hijab in classes. The ban will affect 700 schools in the northern region of Flanders, including some in Brussels. School officials argue that the ban was taken to guarantee equal treatment of all pupils within the school grounds.

Most schools in Flanders are Catholic and run by municipalities. Schools in Flanders that are financed by other Belgian communities are not bound by the ban.

The state council has rejected the demand of a pupil from the Royal Athenaeum School in Antwerp looking to suspend the ban on wearing religious symbols, especially the Muslim headscarf. The issue of the legality of the ban has never been defined by the Supreme Court, the student having waited too long to contest the new school rule now. The deadline for appeals has already been reached.