Target: Faouzia Hariche, Deputy Mayor of Brussels
Goal: Stop barring Muslim students who wear long skirts from going to school.
Around 30 Muslim schoolgirls were turned away at the doors of their school in Brussels, Belgium because their skirts were too long and looked too religious, according to reports. Girls should be able to wear whatever they want and not have to worry about missing school because of it. Demand that this ridiculous discriminatory dress code be ended at once.
The students in question say that one recent morning, the director of L’Institut De Mot-Couvreur prevented them entry into the school, saying “Out! You are not allowed to enter!” The reason he gave was that their skirts were too long and constituted an “ostentatious religious appearance.” That’s right—long skirts are now being considered too Islamic for students to wear at school.
There are two factors at work here—Islamophobia and the policing of women’s bodies—neither of which should be tolerated. Muslim girls have the same right to dress in accordance with their faith as anyone else, and girls in general should not be forced to wear any kind of clothing that they are not comfortable wearing.
The school director said it wasn’t his decision to bar these girls from an education because of the length of their skirts, but the city’s deputy mayor, Faouzia Hariche. Sign the petition below to demand that Hariche lift this anti-Muslim and misogynistic dress code at once.
Dear Deputy Mayor Hariche,
I am writing you today regarding the incident that was reported to have taken place at your city’s L’Institut De Mot-Couvreur wherein around 30 young Muslim students were not allowed into school because their skirts were too long and constituted an “ostentatious religious appearance.” According to the school’s director, this was your doing.
If these girls were truly kept from receiving an education because their skirts were “too Islamic,” there are a number of issues that need to be addressed. First of all, I question how you justify labeling a long skirt a “religious symbol.” If a non-Muslim student showed up in a long skirt, would they also be turned away because they unwittingly wore a “religious symbol?” I doubt it. Long skirts are not Christian crosses, Muslim crescents, or Jewish Stars of David—they are entirely generic and secular.
Secondly, forcing girls into wearing clothing that they may not be comfortable wearing by preventing them from being able to go to school in the clothes they are comfortable wearing is profoundly coercive and misogynistic. Girls should be able to get an education without being forced to be uncomfortable.
This ban on long skirts is ridiculous, discriminatory, and unjustifiable. I demand that you immediately lift this anti-Muslim and misogynistic dress code so that these students can return to school and get an education.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: United States Department of State