Hijabs sexualise little girls and school heads are right to ban them

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I am the only adult woman in my family who does not wear the Islamic headscarf, the hijab.
And 20 years ago, that statement would have caused people — Muslim and non- Muslim — to ask why the rest were covered rather than why I was not, which is the case now. Times have changed, and the conversation about the hijab — which should be honest — has moved in the wrong direction.

This can be seen in the reaction of some Muslims to the initiative of the head of St Stephen’s School in Newham, Neena Lall, in banning girls under the age of eight from wearing the hijab. She also discouraged children from fasting at Ramadan.

Some of the families at the school protested; local councillors and Muslim organisations criticised her; she apparently had death threats issued against her. She backed down and the chair of governors who had supported her resigned.

St Stephen’s is one of the most successful primary schools in the UK. This is a backward step for the young girls who are pupils there.

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