COMPETENT CONSTRUCTIVE COMPASSIONATE
It is an outrage that the Government has suspended the
four Muslim girls from school for wearing their traditional headscarves
or tudung to school. Suspension or expulsion from school is drastic
action reserved for serious breaches of discipline. What have the four
young schoolgirls done to warrant this punishment?
The PAP insists
that prohibiting the wearing of the tudung will foster social cohesion.
What evidence does the PAP cite to support its claim? No child would
take offence just because his or her Muslim friend dons a headscarf. In
fact, the majority of the people don't have a problem with students
wearing headscarves. It is the PAP who has, through its bigoted mindset,
made it an offence for Muslim students to wear the tudung and thus
turned the matter into a problem where none existed before. It seems
that the only people who find the tudung threatening are those within
It is a fact that the ruling is wholly and arbitrarily
created by the PAP. There is no evidence to demonstrate that
schoolchildren wearing headscarves would lead to social and religious
division. (On the contrary, exposing children at a young age to diverse
cultural practices will foster tolerance and acceptance.) On the other
hand, the four young children and their parents have chosen to exercise
their freedom to practice their religion guaranteed under the Singapore
Constitution as well as the United Nations Human Rights Charter. For
this, they have been punished by the Government and the children
deprived of an education. This is morally and politically unjustifiable.
SDP demands that the Government rescind its ban on the girls
immediately and allow them to continue their schooling without further
Meanwhile, the SDP will offer the four schoolgirls free
school lessons so that they can continue their studies while the matter
is being resolved.
Chee Soon Juan