A Muslim group has offered to help fund a school’s legal battle over its refusal to let a pupil wear the niqab in class.
The niqab, which covers the whole face except the eyes
Veiled woman: The niqab, which covers the whole face apart from the eyes
In an unprecedented move, the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford (Meco) has written to the head teacher to say it is prepared to contribute to a fighting fund.
Taj Hargey, Meco’s chairman, said he was also willing to organise a campaign among Muslims nationally to resist “this largely Saudi-driven campaign to make the niqab a compulsory requirement for Muslim women”.
Dr Hargey’s offer comes as the school, which cannot be identified because of a court order, faces the prospect of an expensive legal fight without any backing.
Buckinghamshire county council, the local authority for the school, is unwilling to underwrite a challenge which it believes could cost as much as Â£500,000.
A court on Thursday is due to decide whether the school’s decision not to allow the pupil, aged 12, to wear the veil should go to a full judicial review. The school, which already allows girls to wear head scarves called hijabs, drew the line at the niqab, which covers the whole face except the eyes.
It is insisting that the family accepts the uniform policy but the father has been given legal aid to fight a human rights case.