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Dispute over hijab in Czech school ends up at Supreme Court

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Brno, Jan 3 (CTK) – The closely watched dispute between a Somali girl and a Czech secondary medical school that forbade her to wear hijab will end at the Supreme Court (NS), since she filed a petition for an appellate review in reaction to the dismissal of her lawsuit by lower-level courts, CTK has found out.

In the lawsuit, the student demanded the school’s apology and a compensation worth 60,000 crowns.

Her previous complaint with a district court and the municipal court in Prague was unsuccessful, and the former court obtained the girl’s petition for an appellate review in late December, it ensues from the judicial database.

The district court is supposed to hand the petition and the relevant file over to the NS, which decides in civilian disputes in 200 days on average.

The girl, Ayan Jamaal Ahmednuur, said she left the school because the head teacher asked her at the beginning of the school year in 2013 not to wear a hijab, the scarf Muslim women wear to cover their hair, also during theoretical lessons.

Originally, they agreed on her taking her hijab off only during the students’ practical lessons as nurses, the girl asserted.

The Czech ombudsman stood up for the girl, but the school insisted on its right to define the dress code. It also emphasised the secular school system principle.

The Prague 10 district court did not deal with the hijab use issue thoroughly. It said the girl failed to prove she was discriminated against, and she actually had not met all formal criteria for becoming a student because she had not submitted all required documents.

In reaction to her appeal, the Municipal Court in Prague decided last September that in a secular country, schools must provide a neutral environment, and it decided that the girl does not have the right to wear a hijab at school.

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