The hijab – defend free choice: Say no to headscarf ban!
We, the undersigned, Muslim, non-Muslim, people of faith and no-faith believe that Muslim girls and women should have an absolute right to choose whether to wear or not to wear the headscarf (hijab).

The hijab / headscarf is worn by individuals for different reasons which can include a display of culture, a sign of faith, or a symbol of empowerment, resistance and pride.

The statements by the Chief Inspector of Schools, Amanda Spielman, supporting the banning of the hijab / headscarf in primary schools risks demonising the Muslim community in general and Muslim women in particular.

We find the decision to single out Muslim children unacceptable, and insist that no schoolchild should be targeted for action on the basis of their race, religion or background.

The demonization of the hijab / headscarf has contributed to rising anti-Muslim hate crime, of which women constitute the majority of victims.

Amanda Spielman’s statements and guidance to inspectors can only risk reinforcing an anti-Muslim political culture in our society, in which Islamophobia and anti-Muslim racism become institutionalised in schools and across the public sector.
We call on the Chief Inspector of Schools to rescind any instruction to inspectors to question young girls about their dress or make judgements about schools on the basis of whether pupils wear the hijab / headscarf.


(All individual signatories listed are in personal capacity unless listed as organisations)

Initial signatories include:

Louise Regan NEU (NUT section) President
Kiri Tunks, NEU (NUT section) Senior Vice President
Amanda Martin, NEU (NUT section) Vice President Elect
Sally Hunt UCU General Secretary
Joanna de Groot UCU President
Dave Muritu UCU Vice-chair Equality Committee, NEC
Talha Ahmad, Muslim Council of Britain
Afzal Khan, MP, Labour, Manchester Gorton
Maz Saleem, Anti racist campaigner / daughter of late Haji Mohammed Saleem
Naila Naidoo, Director, Newham Muslim Women's Association
Mohammed Kozbar, chairman Finsbury Park Mosque
Cllr Rakhia Ismail, Labour, Islington
Cllr Mas Patel, Labour, Newham
Cllr Salim Patel, Labour, Newham
Cllr Idris Ibrahim, Labour, Newham
Cllr Zuber Gulamussen, Labour, Newham
Cllr Firoza Nekiwala, Labour, Newham
Cllr Heather Fletcher, Labour, Salford, Co Chair of Jewish-Muslim Forum
Canon Steven Saxby - St Barnabas Church, Walthamstow
Nahella Ashaf, spokesperson for Stand Up To racism

Jerry Glazier NEU (NUT section) executive member
Robin Head NEU (NUT section) executive member
Jess Edwards NEU (NUT section) executive member
Dave Harvey, NEU (NUT section) executive member
Stefan Simms NEU (NUT section) executive member
Alex Kenny NEU (NUT section) executive member
Anne Lemon NEU (NUT section) executive member
Graham White NEU (NUT section) executive member
Simon Murch NEU (NUT executive member
Annette Pryce NEU (NUT section) LBGT+ seat, executive member
Mandy Hudson NEU (NUT section) Disabled Teachers seat holder, executive member
Paulina Blackstock NEU (NUT section) BME teachers seat holder, executive member
Hazel Danson NEU (NUT section) executive member
Nick Wigmore NEU (NUT section) executive member
Joseph Wyglendacz NEU (NUT section executive
Dawn Taylor NEU (NUT section executive member
Jane Nellist NEU (NUT section) executive member
Kauser Jan, assistant head teacher, Leeds, NEU (NUT Section)
Nita Sanghera UCU Black Members Rep, NEC
Sean Vernell UCU Vice-chair Further Education Committee, NEC
Elane Heffernan UCU Chair Disabled Members Committee, NEC
Rhiannon Lockley, UCU NEC
Elaine White, UCU NEC
Margot Hill, UCU NEC
Lesley Kane, UCU NEC
Richard McEwan, UCU FE National Negotiator
Laura Miles, UCU Trustee

Michael Gavan, London Region Officer, NEU (NUT Section)
Louise Cuffaro, Secretary, Newham Teacher's Asociation (NEU)
Tasneem Khonat, President, Newham Teacher's Association (NEU)
Zillay Khan, Vice President, Newham Teachers Association (NEU)
Iain Hale, Secretary, Newham Teachers Association (NEU)
Rob Ferguson, Editor & Press Officer, Newham Teachers Association (NEU)
Miriam Scharf, International Officer, Newham Teachers Association (NEU)
Carolyn McGrath, Officer (Secondary), Newham Teacher's Association (NEU)
Rob Behan, Officer, Newham Teacher's Association (NEU)
Sue Phillips, Officer, Newham Teacher's Association (NEU)
Liam O’Hanrahan, Newham Teacher's Association (NEU)
Carel Buxton, School governor, Newham.
Richiard Hodbin, Rep Park Primary, Newham NEU (NUT Section)
Charlotte Murray, Newham NEU (NUT section)
Venda Premkumar, rep, Redbridge Teachers' Association
Paul Topley, teacher, NEU (NUT Section), Waltham Forest
Ed Harlow. Haringey NEU (NUT section) Branch Secretary
Sheila Williams, primary school headteacher (retd.), Durham
Jessica Christie, President Lancaster and Morecambe NEU (NUT section)
Anjum Peerbacos, senior teacher, Barnet.
Eleanor Woyen, teacher & parent, NEU (NUT Section), Hull
Jill Adams, vice-president, Rotherham NEU (NUT Section)
Audrey Glover, Officer, Lancaster Morecambe and District NEU (NUT Section)
Colin Vetters, teacher, NEU (NUT Section), Dumfries
Dawn Stonall, teaching assistant, Unison, Lancashire

Umit Yildiz, UCU, Edge Hill University
Ioanna Ioannou, UCU, UCL
Mark Abel, UCU Branch Chair Brighton University
Safia Flissi UCU Branch Secretary South and City Birmingham College
Naina Kent, UCU Black Members Standing Committee, Hackney ACE

Fahmida Ismail, parent, St Stephen's Primary, Newham
Reedvan Iqbal, parent, St Stephen's Primary, Newham
Salema Khatun, parent, Avenue Primary, Newham
Shebbida Ali, parent, Avenue Primary, Newham
Shamsun Nessa, parent, Avenue Primary, Newham
Aziza Umerji, parent, Avenue Primary, Newham
Hanifa Patel, parent, Avenue Primary, Newham
Aysha Bakhi, parent, Hallsville Primary, Newham
Catherine Apps, Newham
Lucy Cox, parent & school governor, Brent NEU (NUT Section)

Jahanara Hossain, parent, London
James Cartwright, teacher, Carlisle
Shoohada, parent, Bolton
Muhammad Subhani, parent, London
Alliyah Brown, parent, London
Johanna Feeble, parent, Enfield.
Chahrazad El hanjire, parent, London
Cátia Freitas, parent, Elmbridge.

Naima Omar, Stand Up To Racism, Newham
Sasha Simic, USDAW Shop Steward, Central Books, London
Lyndon Campbell, PCS, Birmingham
Mark Dunk, Unite, Lewisham
Joanne Ashwood, SGI UK Buddhism, Darlington
Alison Ud-din, Stand Up To Racism, Lancaster
Ruth Catlow, Director, Community Arts organisation, Southend

Vaseem Ahmed, London
Yacoub Hossain, London
Anila Mushtaq, London
Salim Bhatoo, Haringey
Frank Pierow, Preston
Yousef Qandeel, Ealing
Sara Mallah, Hillingdon
Brian Thorpe, Carlisle
Marie Allen, Mansfield
Jessica Mae French, Lancaster

Mohd Aftab Qureshi, Frankfurt

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