February 1, 2008
Uproar Over Teacher Forcing Muslim Boys to Shave Beards.
by Rachael Grant
In Malaysia a teacher has been reprimanded for making a group of six Hindu boys to shave off the facial hair that they were growing for a religious ritual, the Thaipusam Festival, on January 23rd. For the festival, an estimated 8% of Malaysia’s 27 million population let their hair grow before the festival, and have it cut on the day.
State Education Director Hussain Harun, was reported as saying ‘the teacher would have to apologise…for hurting their feelings by being insensitive to their religious and cultural needs.’ Harun went on to say that the teacher was enforcing school regulations at the time, that stated students should be clean shaven.
Roughly 60% of people in Malaysia are considered to be Muslim Malay, with the minority Chinese and Indian concerned that a pro-Muslim stance in the judiciary and civil service is compromising their own religious rights.
At the time of going to press, the education officer investigating the case declined commenting.
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