Cii News – August 1, 2012
A Roman Catholic School in the Philippines has broken with the tradition of religious tolerance in the country by banning Muslim girls who want to wear the Hijab.
The decision by a Mindanao Pilar College has been met with opposition from human rights groups and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos.
The government Commission criticized the policy in a country where the hijab is accepted in other Christian private schools as well as in government schools.
Fatmawatti Salahbuddin, director of the Peace and Conflict Resolution Centre at the Commission, told Cii, “There are many Catholic Schools in southern Philippines. This is just particular school that does not allow the wearing of the hijab.”
In a report by OnIslam.com, Sister Maria Nina Balbas, president of Pilar College, in a letter to the mayor said the school will continue enforcing the ban.
“Our origin is Roman Catholic and we cannot deviate from that origin.”
The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) however believes education laws in the Asian country gave Muslim students the right to don hijab in schools.
“Government schools like state universities also allow children to wear hijab,” said Salahbuddin.
According to her there are no Muslim or Islamic schools that cater for learners in the higher grades and college levels.