Parents threatened with legal action after Muslim schoolgirl refuses to wear shorter skirt

‘It feels like bullying because of what I believe,’ says Siham Hamud, 12

Chiara Giordano
Tuesday 12 January 2021 11:41 GMT
Comments
The parents of Siham Hamud, 12, have been threatened with legal action by Uxbridge High School over her refusal to wear a knee-length skirt
The parents of Siham Hamud, 12, have been threatened with legal action by Uxbridge High School over her refusal to wear a knee-length skirt (SWNS)

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

The parents of a Muslim girl have been threatened with court action because their daughter refuses to wear a knee-length skirt to school.

Siham Hamud, 12, has been wearing an ankle-length skirt to school for years but teachers allegedly told her it was incorrect school uniform last month.

Her father Idris Hamud, 55, said she was sent home from school to change every day in December, and told to come back wearing the correct uniform. But she refused because it was “against her religious beliefs," he said.

Uxbridge High School, in Hillingdon, west London, says girls should wear black trousers or a black pleated skirt from official uniform suppliers - which the family claims falls above the knee.

Mr Hamud said both uniform choices contravened the family's strict religious beliefs.

Father Idris Hamud pictured with three of his other children
Father Idris Hamud pictured with three of his other children (Idris Hamud/SWNS)

The school sent the father-of-eight and his wife Salma Yusuf, 44, a letter threatening legal action over “unauthorised absences” as a result of Siham being sent home from school.

It said: "Siham's absence is being recorded as unauthorised. Unauthorised absence may result in a fine being issued, or legal action being taken against the adults who have parental responsibility or day-to-day care of your child.

"Legal action can be in the form of a penalty notice or a summons to the magistrates’ court.

"I must ask that you support the school and your daughter by ensuring that she attends school in full school uniform with immediate effect."

Siham, who is currently studying from home because of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, said: "It feels like bullying because of what I believe.

“I think they should just let me wear my school uniform to school.

“I feel confused and annoyed that I can’t wear what I want for my religion. I hope they’ll change their rules so that girls like me wear skirts to school.”

Mr Hamud, an athletics coach, said Siham and her family follow a traditional branch of Islam which states women should only wear long skirts.

He added: “All Siham wants to do is to wear a skirt which is a few centimetres longer than her classmates - and I don’t know why the school has such a problem with this.

“She’s always been a bright girl, one of the top in her class, and she loved school - and now they just keep sending her home.

“Siham makes her own decisions about her religion, and I can’t make her wear clothes she doesn’t want to wear, so neither should the school.

“She is being denied an education because of her religious beliefs, and I don’t know how anyone can get away with that.”

While Siham has been learning from home since the new school term began, Mr Hamud expects the issue to return once face-to-face teaching resumes.

He said the issue is due to be discussed by a complaints panel with school governors later this month.

The school's principal, Nigel Clemens, said: "This matter is currently subject to examination through the formal school complaints policy. It would therefore not be appropriate to comment further at this time."

Additional reporting by SWNS

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in