Ofsted has received criticism for a recommendation that Muslim schoolgirls should be questioned over their wearing of the Hijab. The move has received criticism and has been labelled as "kneejerk and discriminatory" by over 1,000 teachers, academics and faith leaders. The body which is responsible for inspecting school standards made the suggestion this month after concerns were raised about children as young as 4 and 5 wearing the headscarf, which Muslims view as a signal of modesty. It is believed that most Islamic teachings only recommend the wearing of the Hijab when girls reach the age of puberty.

A response to the "Trojan Horse affair"

When the move was announced, a letter was signed by 1,136 teachers, academics and faith leaders condemning the action. Some have claimed that the move is "dangerous" and could help to promote "islamophobia" in the school environment or the public sector. In the letter it was also claimed that the move could potentially be a breach of "civil liberties" and that the move should be retracted immediately.

This move by Ofsted is thought to have been inspired by recommendation made after the "Trojan Horse affair". The Trojan Horse affair refers to what was believed to be the organized attempt by Islamists to install an Islamist fundamentalist or Salafist ethos into several schools across Birmingham.

The scandal broke after a leaked letter was made public in 2014, which contained detailed plans of how Islamists planned to take control of a school and the potential expansion of the plan to other cities across the UK. Tahir Alam, the former chairman of the Park View Educational Trust which managed 3 state schools in Birmingham was found to have written a 72 page document for the Muslim Council of Britain back in 2007 detailing a blueprint for the "Islamisation" of state schools.

It is believed that this proposed move by Ofsted to question primary school children wearing the Hijab will focus around the area of consent. The girls will be asked by inspectors whether they are wearing the Islamic headdress by consent or if it being done due to the will of their parents. There have been some calls for the dress to be banned permanently but Britain has resisted such moves.

Countries such as France have in recent years banned the wearing of the full face veil in public such as the Burka or the Niqab, the move which was viewed as controversial at the time took place in France in April 2011. This latest move by Ofsted is likely to spark another debate about the Islamic headdresses in wider society, and I am sure in recent days we will hear the voices on either side of this debate come to the forefront once again.