Washington, DC: Indian American Muslims protested in Houston city of Texas against the Karnataka High Court’s ban on students wearing hijabs in schools, said in a press communique issued by Alliance to Stop Genocide in India.
More than a hundred people, with the women in the forefront, called on the Karnataka government to immediately stop the discrimination against Muslim girl students who are being forced to remove their hijabs.
The court’s interim order was passed after several colleges in Karnataka state barred Muslim students from entering classrooms while wearing hijab, leading to nationwide protests and international criticism.
Protesters in Houston held placards saying “hijab is our constitutional right,” “stop India’s hijab ban,” “stop Islamophobia in India”, “attack on hijab is a ploy to deny education to Muslim girls,” and “hijab ban in India is apartheid.”
“I am an Indian-American woman living in Houston. I have been watching what’s happening in your state from afar, and I am shocked and disheartened,” said one protester who spoke at the event.
She further said, “I want you to understand that Hijab is one of the most integral parts of my religion, my faith. It is not just a piece of clothing for those of us who choose to wear it, it is our very identity… We wear it just as naturally as a Sikh person wears their pagdi, a Christian wears their holy cross, a married Hindu woman wears her mangalsutra, sindoor or bichhiya. I request you to not politicize it.”
And added, “I urge you to let educational institutes be a center of learning, not a political battleground to divide communities. Please allow my Indian sisters to practice their faith as is allowed to them by the Constitution of India.”
Meanwhile, the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) condemns the Karnataka High Court’s disregard for the Indian constitution in its recent order, which punishes Muslim women for wearing the hijab despite the fact that their right to religious expression is codified in Article 25.
IAMC urged the court to lift this discriminatory ban and recognize that it is the right of every Indian to practice their faith without being subjected to harassment, segregation and bigotry.