• Sweden edition

Student wearing niqab begins teacher training

Published: 06 Sep 2010 09:00 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Sep 2010 09:00 GMT+02:00

Employers and principals are still waiting for a guiding principle about the niqab in classrooms from the Equality Ombudsman (DO) following the woman's notification last year, Dagens Nyheter (DN) reported on Monday.

Another Stockholm woman reported an adult education college in Spånga northwest of Stockholm to the DO in January 2009 after being told that she could not wear an Islamic headscarf in class.

The woman was told that she was no longer welcome at Västerort Vuxengymnasium, an adult education college, if she persisted in wearing her niqab. The niqab is part of a hijab headress and covers the entire face except for the eyes.

The woman reported the matter to the DO, alleging discrimination. In her report, the woman alleged that she was told that she could not wear her niqab in class or in contact with the school's staff.

The college's rector, Britt-Marie Johansson, defended the school's right to exclude the student from classes, referring to the National Agency for Education's (Skolverket) ruling banning the wearing of some Muslim headscarves at schools.

The student argued that freedom of religion is enshrined in law in Sweden and it should take precedence over the agency's ruling.

The new student is studying at Stockholm University.

"Almost no municipality or school that I know of allows the niqab," Stockholm University lawyer and equality coordinator Christian Edling told the newspaper. "It would be easier if we had guidance."

The DO explained that there is the delay in the case because it is not a priority and that it requires careful treatment due to the complexities involved.

"I think it is deplorable that there such a long time has passed since this girl notified the city of Stockholm and nothing has happened," city school commissioner Lotta Edholm told DN.

Edholm has previously reported the DO to the parliamentary ombudsman for the slow process. The DO did not offer a timeframe on when it can present a decision on new guidelines.

"In general terms, I can say that one should try to find a pragmatic solution, but the right to education is deeply rooted in law," George Svéd, director of DO's education division, told DN.

DN's attempts to reach the new student were unsuccessful.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

09:26 September 6, 2010 by flintis
How do they know who this women is?

A good way of cheating the system if you can't cut it, attend courses all year then get some-one to take your exam for you, nobody would know the difference.

Can she get a drivers licence?
10:47 September 6, 2010 by LeneO
In a democratic society one of the fundamental principles are that one has to be able to identify who you speak with.

There is a need for a number of our muslim fellow citizens to understand and read the society they live in. By behaving so fanatic and intolerant to their new hostcountry's values and principles, they are creating problems for themselves and for others.
11:03 September 6, 2010 by Kaethar
As Integration Minister Sabuni says: Freedom of religion does not mean the freedom to do anything in the name of religion. People mutilate, torture and kill in the name of religion as well. Fact of the matter is that the niqab is not mentioned in the Quran - therefore she cannot hide behind freedom of religion and she'd loose any discrimination case. What we have here is someone choosing to shield themselves off from society which is very worrying in itself from a purely psychological point of view. But they should still be left alone until they seek help. But the niqab should be banned in public institutions because of the negative affect it has on others. If someone chooses isolation then isolation they'll get. :)

And spare me the talk about oppression of women. I'd say a large amount of niqab wearers in Sweden are converts. I don't see this as an immigration issue and never have. :/
11:13 September 6, 2010 by Audrian
This woman is guest of the Swedish Society. The Swedish people have every right to demand a dress code. In the workplace, men are forced to wear ties; I find comical and stupid to wear a suit and necktie. My workplace has a dress code; I have to accept work place protocole grudgingly.

Almost none wore niqab before 1990. This makes niqab more of a fad than a religious article. Everything remaining equal, those who don't wear niqab have as much chance to go to "heaven" as those who wear it.
11:35 September 6, 2010 by Elias06
Just so everybody know niqab has nothing to do with islam, im a muslim myself and as the majority of muslim i think that it should be forbidden cuz it might be threat for our safety. im really pissed off of how niqab is linked to religion now a days.
11:38 September 6, 2010 by floridatjej
unbelievable, move back to where you came from, don't make the Swedes change for your idiotic costumes

If you wear a motorcycle helmet and walk in to the bank, security tells you to take it off, so you can be indentified .........
11:45 September 6, 2010 by engagebrain
How do you talk to someone in a niqab, for anything more complex than 'is there anyone in' ?

The whole point of niqab is to control women by cutting them off from the rest of society.

Even if wearing niqab were a religious requirement, it is not, then the state should still ban them for driving and interactions with the state.
11:50 September 6, 2010 by Keith #5083
Fascinating. In Syria, a muslim country, 1,000 teachers have been moved from their teaching jobs for....wearing the niqab!!!! (source: Kareem Fahim, NYT article, 3rd Sept 2010).quote: "this summer, more than 1,000 teachers who wear the niqab, or the face veil, were transferred to administrative duties" unquote

It is also so nice to see moderate muslims supporting a stance against this politicisation of religious symbolisms.The niqab has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the suppression of women and political grandstanding in non-muslim countries.

If we want a guiding principle for this issue...well, hey, how about Syria?
12:04 September 6, 2010 by Enchiladas
Well said, Floridatjej. It is hard to believe that this woman has the nerve to even try and wear a niqab while attending class. I wonder if South American refugees would be this much of a problem? Just wondering...
12:10 September 6, 2010 by G Kin

I think this is one of the areas that fellow MUSLIMS need to step up and help the rest of society.

Lets us say that the law allows it.


Where will she even get a job as teacher dressing like that?.
12:37 September 6, 2010 by Marko2010S
@Keith #5083 #8

"The niqab has nothing to do with religion"

Who are you to talk about Islam, and make such statement?

Great Muslims Scholars can't make 1% of the statement that you made...

Sorry to say this but you sounded so ignorant...

BTW, Allah gives us brain to use it (At least little bit), So if Syria or even Saudia Arabia prevent Hijab or Niqab,,,, does that prove your point... it is so ridiculous to build your argument based on that...

Please stop wasting your time pretending that you know anything about Islam apart from its name, I don't respect that.
13:07 September 6, 2010 by flintis
# The origin of the niqab/burka is all to do with male dominance #
13:07 September 6, 2010 by Keith #5083
oh, hi again, Marko2010s.

I see you are back on the fundamentalist bandwagon again.

Why so angry simply because I point out that the niqab is not universally acclaimed throughout the whole of divided Islam as a necessity or even as a requirement from the Q'ran?

Put down your 'In the shadow of the Q'ran' book by Sayid Q'tab and your Alawite instruction book....and be a little more tolerant of the shortcomings of others - or even the awareness of others.

I was simply making the point that in 'Muslim countries' the niqab is not mandatory, so why should individuals demand it to be in a western democracy? This demand you cannot even make in....well, I am sure you will tell us, from your expertise, ALL the 'muslim countries' that do not allow the niqab, huh?

Oh, and perhaps my statement about 'nothing to do with religion', was not my statement but a quote. But then, you would not perhaps have read some of the more in-depth scholarly reports about misinterpretations or un-koranic hadiths.

Having a brain is not the issue, it is comprehending that which bigotry blinds us to seeing, that is the issue, wouldn't you agree?
13:09 September 6, 2010 by Localer
this woman knew how to make money from the swedish goverment !!!!
13:20 September 6, 2010 by Keith #5083
# flintis #12

It was my understanding, from a scholarly source, that the niqab/burka was all to do with the protection of women. It seems that the sight of a woman's face, or ankle, or wrist, was deemed sufficient to raise the testosterone levels in most middle-eastern males. To the point where they were uncontrollable.

Indeed, in Iran the male 'morality police' beat women who do not wear the niqab - which is interesting as the Koran forbids a man to look upon the face of a woman who is not his wife! This from a leading, female (persecuted) Iranian reporter! (I state the source for the benefit of Marko2010s).

They probably have the young boys wearing them in Afghanistan where Bacha Bazi is so prominent!!!!

That is, those young boys (7 years old) the Taleban don't hang!
13:32 September 6, 2010 by Marko2010S
@Keith #5083


Lately I've decided to stop arguing with Islam's haters and the despicable liars. I believe you are one of them.
13:32 September 6, 2010 by gabeltoon
I agree with the comments of the second message on here.How is anyone to know who they are speaking with.Why is it that anyone wishing to move to another country cannot intergrate into the custom, culture and way of life of that country.If this lady and any MUSLIM person wishes to wear the niqab why did they leave their country in the first place.I am SCOTTISH and have family in the USA.They live there take part in life there and still keep our customs but they don't rub them in the faces of those around them.What this lady should do is have a really good think about where she is and if she doesn't like it then she has the freedom to go back to where she came from .There is a lady in my home town who wears her niqab and it can frighten young children and the elderly .
13:57 September 6, 2010 by Puffin
I think I would rather have a fully covered classmate :-)

When I did a teaching course at a Swedish University many of the girls were wearing that 'oh so trendy' combination of hip-jeans and thong - so everytime one of them wrote on the board we were treated to a good view of thongs and butts

14:22 September 6, 2010 by Uncle
What can she teach I wounder?

Biology? No, damn Darwin in the way... Philosophy? Naaa. Nitzcshe was not a religious people favourite. Math? Naaa. It requires simple logic and it is hard to explain while wearing a bag on the face.

For SURE not Swedish.... English? Hope not.

Chemistry, physics, astronomy - get too close to explaining a lot from the personal office of Allah.

Sociology? Yeah...right... science of people... That is why the teacher does not want people to see her.


Puffin, if you are a guy - what "eeeeuuww"? are you serious? It is sarcasm right? Say it is sarcasm...
14:44 September 6, 2010 by fridayz
can she explain why she wear that thing? has anybody ever asked them to explain for what reason but " god said so" they cover their face? has ever god said such thing? have they ever seen that in Quran ? ever asked themselves why??????

This lady is getting higher education she is not an illiterate , she is able to read , she speaks languages ... why should she believe so strongly on such thing? I cannot understand this :(
16:10 September 6, 2010 by eZee.se
I think its great that she is doing this...


One person totally covered is not going to cause much confusion... now imagine if just half a dozen others joined in and you have 6 indistinguishable-from-each-other figures in one room... time to sit back with a basket of popcorn and laugh your ass off!

If even one of them have a sense of humor an impersonate one of the others (not too hard to do when you look identical and dont speak much) its a recipe for a laugh fest!

I am glad to see even the Muslims on this board saying what a moron this woman is, I more than half expected this topic to be run over by the people who think the Taliban are just a bunch of misunderstood fun loving guys.
16:26 September 6, 2010 by vladd777
I think the whole issue is ludicrous!

Teachers need to dress in such a way that pupils/students focus on learning the subject being taught by them. This cannot happen if they wear any form of clothing that is distracting.

From going practically naked to an almost total cover-up is definitely distracting.

And there's also the questions of self respect and self control to consider.
18:10 September 6, 2010 by asian123
it should be legal to rape woman wearing this kind of clothing. ahhhhhhh ahhhhhhhhhhhhh joking.

when sweden democrats comes to power they will pass that kind of rule in sweden parliament.
18:51 September 6, 2010 by mojofat
I intend to file suit as I am also being discriminated against. In my religion of the flying spaghetti monster, all white males are required to wear a Richard M. Nixon mask while out in public. Swedish society, being as intolerant as it is, has looked down upon me and my desire to get a job teaching creationism in public schools. Shame shame...
19:44 September 6, 2010 by calebian22
I bow down before the church of Borat. Mankinis are required of all untanned hairy males.
19:46 September 6, 2010 by Keith #5083
#Marko2010s #16


I am not a Muslim hater - in fact have many treasured and beloved Muslim friends, here in Sweden, in India, in Kashmir, in England, Indonesia,etc. That friendship has extended beyond simple words and in to mutually beneficial actions.

What, however, I do dislike is people who misuse any religion and claim to be an authorised representative of God, the One God, or who have not studied their religion enough to go beyond the metaphors and into the reality of truth.

That you may believe I am, as you put it, a 'despicable liar' is your absolute right in a Western democracy. It would be useless to ask which factual information I have stated on this comment board you believe to be untrue. Your mind is already closed to factual information that does not agree with your interpretation. In this you are no different than 'apartheid christian in S.A' or 'bible-belt converts' in the USA in the days of slavery.

However, I live in hope that as you progress along your pathway of faith you may transcend the merely ritualistic and find the beauty of tolerant, co-existing, compassionate and loving Islam. To this end I would respectfully suggest reading the poetry of Rumi - where you will find the same concepts as expressed in the New Testament, the Bhagavad Gita, or on the lips of the Dalai Lama.
20:17 September 6, 2010 by Uncle
"merely ritualistic and find the beauty of tolerant, co-existing, compassionate and loving Islam"

eeehhhh wasn't Mohammad a great warrior? Like, I don't know... the conquest of Mecca or something? Like Mohammad could not live in peace with Meccan tribes and their religion?

I don't know, just throwing it in the air... Maybe I am wrong of course. But the start of the entire Islam was definetely a good one.. Only few thousand died. Could have been worse.
22:02 September 6, 2010 by spo10
i don't see why there is a need for her to hide her face when she's already living in Sweden. but then if she'll do it, her husband, his relatives, her relatives and consequently all of Muslim men will stone her to death by doing so. we all have to think and place ourselves in her shoes. maybe she really wants to get rid of the niqab but it's just so damn difficult in her situation. think about it.
22:41 September 6, 2010 by Taxalien
The best finance minister this country ever had (a long time ago) was also a most liberal thinker when it came to religion. He posed the theory that there should be absolute equality between different religions in Sweden. It took a while to get close and now things are deviating again.

But I agree with him. I think it is very simple to explain where and what is acceptable.

If a niqab or burqa is ok, then it is also ok to go naked. Anywhere. Including at preschool or in a Islamic school teaching the koran. I just hope somebody does it.

It would end this discussion once and for all. We would not tolerate naked people and we would not tolerate niqab och burqa.

Because we are striving towards absolute equality...

and then we have to agree on certain minimum standards for a society in the 21st century and that standard does not include burqas or niqabs or naturists running around showing their genitals everywhere they please.
23:43 September 6, 2010 by 4thtankie
mrs/miss niqab, go home please and i'll pay for your ticket.
00:49 September 7, 2010 by Marko2010S
@Keith #5083 #26

Once again you proved my point that you belong to the 'despicable liars' category. You've you've twisted my words, I said 'You are Islam's hater'. I didn't say 'You are a Muslim hater'.

No one hates people for what they believe in unless s/he is a mindless freak-Animal. So, it's pointless to brag about how much you love your Muslims friends or your buddhists soulmates.

Also, I still stand for my word about that you hate Islam, because if you really know the reality of Islam you would be a Muslim.

Finally, I just wanna repeat my words and say 'Lately I've decided to stop arguing with Islam's haters and the despicable liars' !
00:58 September 7, 2010 by Syftfel
Freedom of religion is one thing, but this is ridiculous! Who's gonna teach this lost woman how to live in a civilized society? Or is she in a permanent state of "Costume Ball"? If she insists on being dressed like this keep her out of teachers' trainiing! Where does one draw the line on such antics? And as for the Equality Ombudsman, I hope he makes his decision before the 19th. It's important for my electoral choices. See you all on the 19th.
01:31 September 7, 2010 by Keith #5083
# marko2010s

errata: for 'muslim friends' read "Islamic persons" - it actually means the same, but clearly uses different letters.

In fact, Islam died on 3rd September 2004. Executed by a fellow Muslim. Islam Khardekov, 14 years old, died from a gunshot in the back having rescued a young girl in the school gymnasium in Beslan. I am not 'Islam's hater' as you write but have the highest respect for this young man.I,at least, remember him. I bet you didn't even know about him, huh?
06:53 September 7, 2010 by Uncle
Oooooo here we gooooo:

"Also, I still stand for my word about that you hate Islam, because if you really know the reality of Islam you would be a Muslim. "

So whoever is not muslim - he hates Islam. Therefore the other 5 billion people are Islam haters and need to be taught the greatness of Islam. If they refuse the see the light, the light shall be brought upon them.

Yep - peaceful and loving. How come not EVERYBODY converted so far, is beyond me. Especially women.
09:40 September 7, 2010 by Marko2010S
@Keith #5083

Which part you didn't understand of my statement: "I've decided to stop arguing with Islam's haters and the despicable liars" ?

I don't mean to be mean but I swear to God I feel physically sick and want to puke when I look at your words. I just don't respect you at all for the spouting lies and propaganda.

@Uncle #34

NO, you misunderstood me so badly. My post was entirely 112% oriented towards @Keith - It was specifically for her ONLY. So, please don't generalize it.

BTW, "Knowing the reality of Islam" happens only through heart, and that's how a human being will be guided to the right religion "Islam". Therefore, hearing some words from X, Y or Z doesn't mean that a person knows Islam, It only means that s/he knows the lies that people such as Keith trying so hard to spreads.
11:50 September 7, 2010 by Keith #5083
Since the niqab is for women, and I am male, I have no idea what it must be like to have to walk around in it all day. It must prevent the wearer from seeing so much of the world and cause much confusion to others.

Now, obscurity and confusion are obviously key words in whatever branch of the much divided Islam you converted to, Marko2010s.

So, I have no wish or desire to prevent you from refuting any of the FACTUAL information I have provided in this comment board. You are the one who seems unable to answer, except that you keep writing that you have 'stopped arguing'.

Hmmm...so many words, many of them vulgar and course, from someone who has stopped responding.

Your 'propaganda' about 'liars' is neither a loving nor an intelligent response.

This is the problem most ordinary people have with certain sects of Islam - you and many 'fervent converts' do your faith no service with such outbursts.
12:25 September 7, 2010 by flintis
@4thtankie: she probably is "home"
15:45 September 8, 2010 by soultraveler3
I agree with the ban on the niqab. It doesn't say anywhere in the Koran that women must wear this. It's a way to keep women surpressed and isolated to help men control them. It's demoralizing and dehumanizing.

I'm sorry but when someone CHOOSES to live in another country be it for love or to escape something it's that person's responsibilty to accept the culture of that country and assimilate into society.

If I moved to a conservative muslim country I'd cover my head if that was the norm. I'd do it out of safety and more so out of respect for the culture of my host country.

To expect a country to change their societal norms just so you can continue on with a custom that goes against their culture is ridiculous.
23:10 September 8, 2010 by Da Goat
from my visit to Malaysia a few years ago I met a nice Islamic woman we attended a school together and she said it is only important to cover the hair on their head which I can see and appreciate even the men do this in Arabia,

so i have no problem with covering the head/hair but i think it a little prehistoric/barbaric to cover faces as well I can't think of any good reasons to cover your face excepting maybe extreme ugliness or sun protection. not sure those two problems exist in Sweden!

if God made you pretty to look at then i think you should show it!
00:13 September 9, 2010 by DAVID T
What if she's a hound? Maybe she should wear it
07:14 September 9, 2010 by flintis
Who let the dogs out? hu hu hu huhu!!
04:24 September 11, 2010 by Britt-Marie7
She would of course be much happier back in her own country, where she can dress as she wants to. I am sure that we all can give her a one way ticket back.

I am an immigrant in a foreign country too, I see no need to push my agenda on my host country.
04:40 September 12, 2010 by Canada_Girl
@ Marko2010S - For a person who claims to not want to engage with the haters, you make a lot of posts.
07:30 September 12, 2010 by habibah
: I think actually that the time has come to stop this comic controversy about the veil. It reflects the reactions of participants and their own feelings toward Islam and Muslims rather than to speak objectively about the veil. These women have the freedom to wear what you like where you like, in this free country governed by law and not some authoritarian and freedom may have robbed from them already in her first country , so they migrated to this country and think that human freedom is available in it. It is unfair to treat them the same logic of their anti-real democracy lands. and she does not try to hide her identity, it is known that a covered woman can raise her veil in front of any other woman to identify her personality when needed. any way the veil in Islam is not compulsory and I think frankly that Muslim women who want to live in a western country for them to understand what is the science of the law of minorities (fiqh) which are sets of fatwas and religious laws addressed to the Muslim minority living in other countries. It emphasizes respect for the laws of others and not strict in terms of religion. Without compromising on the basics and rules of religion, which has a respectable place among Muslims. Let us agree that we all want to live happy and respect each other. This is the truth about all religions. And these militants racists who spread hatred and destruction in any place, whether they are Christians, Jews or Muslims are in fact enemies and insult all religions. They do not know the true path to God .. the way to Paradise. Read more at (flag not white , thte way to paradise , från sverige)
23:46 November 30, 2010 by Chickybee
I thought when people came to live in Sweden be they from wherever they would learn the language and accept the culture they had come to. I think to do less is quite disgusting.
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