Ireland: Muslim anger at Opposition calls for school ban on hijab

Two main Irish opposition parties said that Muslim girls should not be allowed to wear a headscarf in public schools. Labour party’s Ruairi Quinn stated that immigrants should conform to the culture, and Fine Gael counterpart Brian Hayes said that it makes sense to have one uniform for everyone, citing that the hijab was not a fundamental requirement to be a Muslim, and more of a cultural practice of modesty. “Nobody is formally asking them to come here. In the interests of integration and assimilation, they should embrace our culture,” said Quinn. The spokesperson for the Islamic Society of Ireland said that the comments were baffling and added that the headscarf was a religious obligation. Presently, individual school authorities are responsible for drawing up rules about school uniform requirements. However, the Education Act requires them to respect diversity of all traditions and beliefs.