The row between a Muslim pupil over his beard and a Christian school has now escalated nationally.
The Department of Basic Education, Gauteng Department of Education, Ashton International College’s Benoni branch and the parents of the teenager involved in the matter will be meeting at the school to find a way of resolving the issue that has seen many people being polarised over it.
It all started when the school refused to let a Grade 8 Muslim pupil to grow his beard which his parents said was part of his Islamic practices.
The college said it was an “independent Christian school”, where all prospective parents were informed of the institution’s ethos. However, the family believes the actions are part of the “unconstitutional” and “racist” and that the school was denying Muslim pupils their religious rights. They also threatened to take the fight to court.
Commenting on the matter, some people said the school was Islamophobic and trampling on the boy’s rights. Others, however, said the parents were aware when they enrolled their son there that that the school did not allow pupils to grow their beard. They said the parents were being unfair to the school.
Speaking to The Star on Monday, Gauteng Education’s Steve Mabona said they had sent officials to the school last week but it was rather suggested everyone involved in this matter meet on Tuesday.
“Right now there is nothing to say. Our officials did not even look at the school’s code of conduct, they will do so when all the parties meet,” he said.