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'Najwa is no Islamic Joan of Arc', says lawyer
By:
thinkSPAIN , Saturday, May 1, 2010

A SOLICITOR acting for Najwa Malha, the 16-year-old suspended from school for refusing to take off her hiyab, says she is 'no Islamic Joan of Arc'.

Iván Jiménez Aybar met with the Malha family on Thursday, who intend to take legal action against the regional education authorities after the Camilo José Cela high school in Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid) declined to allow the teenager to attend class wearing her headscarf.

Najwa (pictured, centre), who is a Spanish national born in the capital to Moroccan parents, has been forced to change schools to avoid missing out on classes.

Jiménez Aybar says he is 'confident' that the courts will accept the application for legal action and that 'the school will correct its error' and allow Najwa to return.

If this is the case, says the lawyer, “we will not consider it as a victory over the government, but merely as the correction of an error.

“The family does not want anyone in the political world or the Muslim community to see this as a fight against the regional government.

“Najwa's case is one thing, the wider issue of hiyabs in the classroom is quite another.

“She's no Islamic Joan of Arc, and we're not going to allow anyone to treat her like one, either.”

Jiménez Aybar, who has been specialising in cases involving Islam for many years, reveals that Spanish law permits Muslim women to wear their hiyab in passport or identity card photographs, meaning a ban on these in the classroom is 'nonsense'.

He says Najwa is a “very mature, responsible young woman, not at all rebellious, and the decision to wear her headscarf was a personal one – despite the fact her parents advised her not to wear it when they realised what could happen to her.”

 
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