Kuwait School Tells Hijabi Applicant Parents Don't Want Kids Taught by 'Covered Teachers'

Published November 16th, 2017 - 08:00 GMT
The school said: "You can wear the hijab whilst not on the school premises but not in the school" (Shutterstock/File)
The school said: "You can wear the hijab whilst not on the school premises but not in the school" (Shutterstock/File)


  • A British Muslim claims she was asked to remove her job in order to get employed by an English school in Kuwait
  • A school worker told her "parents don't want their children taught by covered teachers"
  • The woman was told this is "non-negotiable"
  • The school has since denied discriminating against hijabi women and said the comments were made "by a new employee"


A British Muslim who applied for a job as a nursery teacher in Kuwait was told she would have to remove her hijab because it is "an English school".

Fouzia Khatun, 23, hoped to work at The English Playgroup in the Muslim-majority Gulf state - where she felt she would be "more accepted" than in the U.K.

But after applying for the job, she got an email from the school's HR staff reading: "Parents don't want their children taught by covered teachers. It is an English school."

It added that Fouzia would not be allowed to wear her headscarf on the premises if she wanted the job at the fee-paying school and that this was "non-negotiable".

The English Playgroup Educational Company has since claimed the comments were "by a new employee" and said it "proudly employs" hijab-wearing staff.

"[B]eing asked to leave the house without my hijab is like being asked to go out without a top on," Fouzia said. "It doesn't represent my religion - it is part of me." 

"I know this is a delicate area and hope you do not feel offended in any way," the worker told her. "Please have a think about it and let me know if you would like to proceed to interview."

Fouziua asked for clarification about whether her success hinged on the removal.



The reply said she could wear the scarf for her first interview - but "probably" not for the second interview or for a photo taken for "management purposes".

Fouzia replied to say she was "confused" because Kuwait was a Muslim-majority country.

The reply from the school said: "You can wear the hijab whilst not on the school premises but not in the school."

"It's extremely sad to see a school in a Muslim country like Kuwait also demonstrate this kind of discrimination," said Fouzia.

Bosses did not respond to a request for comment, but in a statement posted on Instagram, the firm said: 'The English Playgroup and Primary Schools employ qualified teachers from all nationalities, religions, and backgrounds who serve students as excellent and caring teachers.

"Allegations of discrimination against hijab-wearing staff are untrue. Our schools proudly employ many hijab-wearing teachers and administrators across our schools."

The English Playgroup then released several images on their Instagram of teachers wearing a hijab as they taught.


This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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