A Muslim student was left in tears after being told she must take off her doekie if she wants to write her exams.
The meisie from Athlone was devastated on Monday morning when a teacher told her that management decided to ban all headscarves at the International Academy of Health and Skincare in Cape Town.
The 19-year-old girl, who is in her first year at the larney college in the CBD, tells the Daily Voice she was told she would not be allowed to write her international examinations next month while wearing a doekie.
The student, who is a devout Muslim, says she always wears her scarf to college, and makes sure her doekie matches her beige uniform.
The girl, who asked not to be identified for fear of victimisation, says she left her class in tears and immediately called her father.
“After our tea break, the female teacher, who is also Muslim, said the principal [manager] said he was not going to allow me to write my examinations while wearing a scarf,” she explains.
“I became very upset as I have been wearing a scarf all the time [since the start of 2016].
“I left the classroom and called my father.”
Her dad, Noor Slamdien, believes his daughter is being discriminated against because of her religion.
“I was on my way to work when I received a call from my daughter who was distraught and in tears,” he explains.
The father, 56, immediately phoned the college manager, known only as Mr Koekemoer.
“He told her she cannot write her international exams while wearing a scarf. He said this is because they will be having an international client who will be administering their exams and students would not be allowed to wear their scarves.
“I said when I registered my child, why wasn’t this conveyed to me? He said he wasn’t part of the enrolment process.”
Noor says Koekemoer resolved to speak to the students about the issue.
The dad says his daughter was doing a two-year course in beauty therapy, the first year’s fees were R80 000, and second year will cost R100 000.
Noor says he will take the matter to the Equality Court if his daughter is not allowed to wear her doekie at the college.
“Koekemoer must be careful with his words, especially where Muslim women are concerned.
“He needs to take stock of what is happening in our country where students are concerned, and this is no threat,” he added, referring to the violent #FeesMustFall protests.
The girl says after speaking to her dad on the phone, Koekemoer spoke to her in class.
“He asked me why I did not wear my scarf tied up, but I told him that is not allowed,’ says the student.
“He said sarcastically that since my father is such as expert, he must call the MJC [Muslim Judicial Council].
“I feel very disgusted because it’s like he has no respect for any religion.”
The determined meisie adds: “I will not be removing my scarf. I always keep it tidy and only wear black or nude colours.”
Koekemoer declined to comment, saying he would not be “bullied”.
“The matter has been resolved and this is a private matter at a private institution. We will not be bullied into comment.”