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Karnataka Hijab Row: Bigger Than It Seems

Photo source: Press Trust of India (PTI)

Muslim women are protesting across Karnataka for their constitutional rights to wear the hijab.

This comes after female students wearing hijab were barred entry to various junior and graduate colleges.

Hijabi women are facing challenges from right wing extremism that is sweeping through the nation fueled by the government.


Some of those who stopped women from entering the schools were seen as wearing saffron colored shawls as they heckled the women.

Students say this issue is not recent but infact started 2 years ago in an Udupi campus which many of their seniors had to withstand. Now, this has spread across the state to many other campuses denying entry to women with hijab.

BC Nagesh, Education Minister for the state of Karnataka said hijab is only prohibited in areas that require uniform.

Karnataka’s high court advised Thursday that Muslim women should avoid wearing religious garments.

The supreme court rejected an urgent hearing today and said that they would only interfere at an appropriate time.

Karnataka high court will resume a hearing on Monday challenging hijab restrictions.

As exams soon approach, students who wear hijab are worried that the interference at their schools will cause them to fall behind and impede on their education.

While the outcome remains uncertain, it is clear that Muslim women are being coerced to make a choice: practice their faith or get an education.

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  • Fatima El-Zein

    Fatima El-Zein is Lead Producer at TMJ News where she aims to bring more awareness about her community through storytelling. El-Zein grew up in Toronto, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Journalism at the University of Toronto and also received a diploma in Journalism from Centennial College. She has worked extensively for CBC News before moving to the United States.

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