Friday, November 23, 2012

Girl makes history with hijab in House of Parliament

A schoolgirl is believed to have become the first person to wear a hijab while speaking at the despatch box in the House of Commons.

Sumaiya Karim, 16, from Wokingham in Berkshire, was speaking during a debate on whether children should be given a greater say over the contents of the national curriculum, as the Youth Parliament held its annual session in the Commons.

Speaking out in favour of a radical overhaul of the system, which would give youngsters greater life skills, Sumaiya is thought to have made a small piece of history as she appeared at the despatch box in the Muslim headscarf.

She said: “If it’s true then it’s amazing. Wearing the hijab was my own choice. It’s a choice that I made a few years ago when I found the hijab.

"It’s about when the time is right and the time was right for me.”

Sumaiya, currently studying biology, chemistry, maths and history at A-level, wants to become a surgeon before embarking on a political career later in life.

In her speech, she called on ministers to allow a committee of young people to review the national curriculum, which she said should include a greater focus on political education, as well as sex and relationship advice.

She told more than 300 members of the Youth Parliament: “What does it mean when I say that I am dating someone? What’s commitment? What impact does having a baby have on my life? “What’s parliament? How do I get through uni? What’s a cash ISA? And more importantly why does my favourite chocolate bar as a kid go from 10p, to 15p, to 17p, and now ridiculously 20p?

“These are questions that need answers. Parliament isn’t just a building, it’s the mother of all democracies. There are financial education schemes available but not for the whole of the UK population.” In a vote, the youngsters chose to make national curriculum reform their campaign for the coming year.

Only 23 members voted to keep public transport as the issue for the youth parliament, whilst 154 voted in favour of making the national curriculum the campaign for the year.



Sunday, November 18, 2012

EgyptAir stewardesses begin wearing hijab

CAIRO: EgyptAir stewardesses, who campaigned to wear headscarf, have begun donning the hijab for the first time since the national carrier was founded in 1932, a company official said on Sunday. The first flight attendants dressed in the hijab, which mainstream clerics say is mandatory, worked on flights to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

Under Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in an uprising in early 2011, the hijab was taboo for women in some state institutions such as state television and the national carrier. But after the election of the Islamist President Muhammad Morsi in June, women in television and EgyptAir campaigned for permission to wear the hijab, like most Muslim women in Egypt. The company had agreed to allow the stewardesses to wear the hijab after a strike by cabin crews in September that also demanded better pay. An EgyptAir official said a foreign company has been contracted to design a cap and headscarf for the estimated 250 stewardesses who want to wear the hijab, out of 900 women working for EgyptAir.

In September, an anchorwoman was the first woman to appear on state television wearing the scarf, which traditionally covers the hair and neck. Some more liberal women wear the hijab to cover only their hair.