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Activists in Iraq have launched a campaign demanding an end to a practice whereby some schools enforce the wearing of the Islamic hijab, a headscarf, on girls. Campaigners are working both online and offline to highlight the issue. The hashtag “#No_to_compulsory_hijab” has trended on Iraqi social media, while activists have designed forms for female students in schools across the country to document the phenomenon. Campaigners hope to assess the scale of the problem, collect relevant data, and record any violations of personal freedoms.
Concerns of girls, their families and activists
Although data on the extent of compulsory hijab in educational settings are non-existent, cases are known to occur. Zeinab Ali, a fifth-grade student, told Amwaj.media that her schoolmates are compelled to wear the hijab during Islamic studies lessons. Those sessions highlight “Taklif”—religious obligations which arise at the age of puberty in Islam, such as praying and fasting. According to some Muslim scholars, girls are additionally required to wear the hijab upon reaching the age of puberty as defined in the faith. In some schools, Islamic studies classes promote the idea that girls must display “proper Islamic morals” by wearing headscarves.
Zeinab said she has felt pressured by school staff. “The school principal asked me to wear the hijab more than once,” she reported. Zeinab added that other school staff—including teachers—have openly questioned...
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