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Last Updated: Thursday March 03 2005 18:57 GMT

Muslim girl wins dress court case

Shabina Begum
A Muslim girl has won her battle against her former school after a court ruled that teachers had been wrong to bar her for wearing a traditional gown.

Shabina Begum, 16, accused Denbigh High School in Luton, Bedfordshire, of denying her right to education and to show her religious beliefs.

The Court Of Appeal agreed with her, and also ruled that her school had acted unlawfully in excluding her.

Shabina has now moved to another school where her "jilbab" dress is allowed.

The judge in her case called for more guidance for schools about dress codes and pupils' human rights.

The decision marks the end of a long battle for Shabina and she also had to deal with the death of her mum in 2004. Her dad died 12 years ago.

She started wearing her jilbab to school in September 2002 and was excluded shortly afterwards, with the school saying the dress posed a safety risk.

In June 2004, the High Court backed the decision to exclude Shabina, but she took her case to the Court Of Appeal, which reversed the judgement.

Outside the court, Shabina said: "Today's decision is a victory for all Muslims who wish to preserve their identity and values despite prejudice and bigotry."

The court case will be seen as very important, especially following last year's decision to ban religious items - including Islamic headscarves and large Christian crosses - from schools in France.

So what do you think about this?

E-mail and let us know using the form on the top right hand side of this page.

Your comments

My dad went to work in Saudi Arabia and while there he said he had to go by the rules over there. He couldn't drink in public and had to make sure what he wore wasn't too western so as not to upset locals. This should apply over here too. Rulings like this breeds racism.
David, 15, Derby

This is a major step towards anti-racism. If we show France that we aren't racist, maybe they'll change their mind about religious clothing.
Abby, 12, Durham

She as a right to wear a jilbab because it is her religon to wear a jilbab. In Islam people should let you wear scurf, jilbab and even dress.
Aamina, 11, Birmingham

I disagree with the people who say she shouldn't be allowed to wear her jilbab. It's her religion.
Amny, 11, Ashford

I think it is wrong that Shabina has got the right to wear her dress. I think she should follow the rules like everyone else despite her religion.
Kelly, 14, Rotherham

I would say 'go girl'! and the reason: what happened to freedom?
Amii, 13, London

I think she should not have won the case. If I walked into school with a cap on I would be told to go home, and so should she. It doesn't matter what your religion is, everyone should wear the same things. We want equality not divisions.
Rachel, 15, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

I wear a long skirt and a head scarf to school and no one said anything to me. I think it's great Shabina fought for what she believed in.
Rashed, 14, Oxford

Schools have a uniform so that all pupils can be identified as well as feel part of the school community. If they also told her it was a health and safety risk, she was in the wrong. I think the court was wrong to get involved as she could have gone to a different school. We get into trouble if we wear items that are not school uniform, why should it be different based on your religion?
Ben, 14, Coventry

I think everyone should have the right to where what they like in school, especially if it is a religious type of clothes.
Hajer, 15, Bolton

I am really glad Shabina won her fight, that school was being stupid with excluding her because she was wearing religious clothes, it was her belief and they should have encouraged that. Well done Shabina!
Becky, 10, Oswestry

Like many constitutional rights that the world is giving us, "freedom of speech" and all that, we should be able to wear what we want to wear, or worship the way we do so in our religions. It's great Shabina won, this is a major step away from racism.
Arna, 15, Edinburgh

If everyone else has to wear uniform than what right have they got to be different - even if it is their religion?
Christopher, 13, Newcastle

Good on her, she should be able to wear what she wants - especially if it is religious.
Zishan, 13, Slough

I think it is wrong to let pupils wear religious dress, because everyone should be equal and wear uniform otherwise this isn't fair against westernised religions.
Sarah, 14, Leicester

I think that it is great to see that she has got her right because she has to wear that in Islam so no one can stop her.
Afsana, 12, Bolton

I don't think they should be allowed to wear a jilbab, as we can't wear what we want or are even allowed to wear wristbands, which are to show support for good causes.
Sienna, 14, Hull

Good on you, Shabina. Showed that school, didn't it?
Cocobb, 15, Leeds

I think she shouldn't be allowed to wear it as other pupils can't wear extra stuff.
Alex, 12, Leicester

I think she should wear the same uniform as everyone else - I'm not racist or anything but it's unfair.
Charlotte, 14, Coventry

What's the problem with letting her wear her headscarf? If it's part of her religion, then I don't see the problem. Anyway, it's not as if it's stopping her from learning.
Ellie, 12, Hartlepool



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