A Muslim mother from Durban has taken to the provincial education department after a school principal ordered her son to shave off his beard or leave school. According to the woman, her 17-year-old son, a Grade 11 pupil at a Phoenix school, was continually harassed by the principal to either remove his beard or go to a ‘Muslim school’.
The woman told IOL news that her son had been growing the beard for religious purposes and said she would not leave the principal to be until the matter is sorted.
“They need to be accountable. We are working parents and our children go to school to learn. If I change my son’s school what happens to the other Muslim children?”
The woman told IOL news that on Wednesday her son arrived at the school and was told by the principal to use a razor blade to remove his beard. She claimed that her son was also asked if he was going to become a ‘moulana’.
“My son told him that this was not possible as he was growing it for religious reasons. He told him to go home and bring his parents. He gave my son a pass and when my son got home he contacted me. I told him to take the moulana to school because I was at work.
“When the moulana arrived at school and explained to him the purpose of the beard the principal still insisted. Another teacher even asked my son if he is planning on becoming a moulana.”
The mother added that involving the Department of Education was the last resort, after attending several meetings with school principal on the matter.
Spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa told IOL news that confirmed the mother had been in contact with the department and that both sides of the story needed to be established.
“However the department stands firm against any form of abuse or religious intolerance. The Department of Education does not discriminate against learners on the basis of their religious beliefs or affiliations. The pupil must go back to class. All children are protected by the Constitution and are entitled to an education.” (Picture/ Story: IOL news)