Should Niqab Be Allowed In Classroom?

A Muslim woman in Sweden attends a teacher training college in which she has raised the issue as to whether or not a female wearing the niqab can be allowed to become a teacher. The previous year a Muslim woman was not allowed to attend a different teacher education college on grounds she must allow her face to be shown. Experts note that no municipality or school in Sweden will allow a Muslim woman wearing the niqab or burqa to teach in their school. They argue children should be allowed to see faces of their teachers and a niqab clothed educator would encounter problems, not merely with students, but with other teachers, and parents. This raises the question as to whether there are places in which wearing the niqab should not be allowed.

As an educator for fifty years and defender of Muslim women wearing the niqab or burqa I regret raising issues concerning the right of teachers to cover their faces before children. Young children observe faces for clues and hiding the face makes for difficulty in learning. A female who is concerned about student learning should be willing to set aside her religious beliefs in the interests of children’s right to learn.