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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

British Muslim sues daughter's school after they ban her face veil 

The woman was told to remove her face veil while attending a parent's evening at Holland Park School in London

Holland Park School is located in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Holland Park School is located in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea

A Muslim woman is taking legal action against her daughter's school after she was told she was not allowed to wear a face veil on the premises.

Rachida Serroukh, a 37-year-old mother-of-three, had been attending a welcome evening for new parents at Holland Park School in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea when she was taken aside and informed by a member of staff that face veils were not permitted at the school.

Ms Serrouk told The Guardian that she was delighted when her 11-year-old daughter received a place at the famous comprehensive school and was "shaken" by the response from a teacher.

“I was very shaken and was in a state of shock about what had happened. I had never experienced anything like this before," she told the publication.

“I have experienced name calling in the street from strangers about my veil but nothing like this had ever happened before. When I got home, I just broke down.”

Initially Ms Serroukh, who was educated at Holland Park School herself, thought the teacher had been referring to her daughter's headscarf and not her own face veil.

She continued: "I explained clearly that my daughter wears a headscarf and would not be coming in in a face veil. Then I realised she was talking about me, not my daughter."

Ms Serroukh, a childcare assistant born in nearby Ladbroke Grove, was told that everyone needed to be identified on the school site for health and safety reasons.

She later sought further clarity over the issue by writing to the school about the face veil ban for those that come onto school grounds.

The school's deputy head teacher Ross Wilson responded that before the incident there was no written policy about wearing of the face veil.

He added: "Given the concerns you have raised we are now considering a written amendment to our health and safety policy to include this specific requirement and will follow the normal protocol of seeking the approval of the governing body."

Ms Serroukh, who is being represented by Attiq Malik of Liberty Law, said she was discriminated against on the grounds of her religion.

Britain's Department for Education states that it is individual school's decision to decide whether staff and students can wear a face veil but there is no guidance about parents or visitors.

Holland Park School is one of Britain's most prestigious comprehensives and has been dubbed the "socialist Eton" because of the number of high profile left-wing politicians who have attended. Labour MP Tony Benn sent all four of his children to the establishment.

The National has contacted Holland Park School for comment but has yet to receive a response.