Posted by: becketfund | April 3, 2009

India: Supreme Court Rules Against Muslim Schoolboy

NEW DEHLI – A Supreme Court ruling that dismissed a Muslim boy’s case against his school after he had been expelled for wearing a beard, saying it would not allow the “Talibanization” of the country, has drawn mixed reactions from Indian Muslims, The National reported on April 1.

  Justice Markandeya Katju, a member of the Supreme Court bench that delivered the verdict on Monday, said: “We don’t want to have Taliban in the country.  Tomorrow a girl student may come and say that she wants to wear a burqa–can we allow that?”  Mohammad Salim, 16, a former Grade 10 student at Nirmala Convent Higher Secondary School in the Bidisha district of Madhya Pradesh, was expelled in December 2008 when he refused to obey orders to shave off his beard.  Being clean-shaven is mandatory for all students at the school.

The boy’s family filed a petition in Madhya Pradesh’s highest court, which ruled in favour of the school. They then brought their case before the Supreme Court in New Delhi this month.  While many students and teachers support the verdict, others believe that is represents Islamophobia as evidenced by Mr Katju’s references to the Taliban in relation to the case.

Aziz Mubaraki, a Muslim community leader in Kolkata, said the judge’s comments were “unpleasant and painful.”

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