Jan Bjorklund, head of the Liberal Party in Sweden apparently is anything, but liberal, when it comes to rights of Muslim female students. She wants to empower school principals to have the power of banning use of veils in schools such as the niqab or burqa. “Teaching is communication, it is about being able to look at each other in the eye, and in the face, and to be able to communicate with each other.” As one who has taught for over 50 years and had Muslim females in my classes who wore the niqab, I find the comments of Ms. Bjorklund bordering on idiocy. I always politely inquired of Muslim female student as to the appropriate distance they wanted me to approach in order not to intrude upon their private space. They engaged in group discussions and welcomed males into the group. Ms. Bjorklund is worried teachers will not know who is taking the exam. This is ridiculous, of course, I can tell by talking with the student, there outward appearance and the seat they are in as to who is who.
I also teach online classes in which we never look each other in the eye, we never know how each other is dressed, and the results are outstanding in terms of critical thinking. The University of Phoenix teaches thousands of students online. It is time to halt this silliness over the niqab and burqa.