Georgia: Muslim father forbids 13-y/o daughter to attend sports and music lessons

Democracy and Freedom Watch, October 18, 2017.

“I want to learn and become a teacher. If I do not study, I know in future I will have hard life. I was not allowed into the school because I am wearing a hijab. I do not know what will happen now. I want to go to school together with my class-mates,” said 13-years-old Aysha, who lives in Karajala village, Telavi municipality. School director Elza Ashurova did not allow her into the school because of the hijab.

“I have nothing against the religion and Muslims. The school has its internal regulations, and one of its rules bans students to enter the school facilities with a cap, a head kerchief, glasses, a scarf and other kerchiefs,” Ashurova said.

The school director added that the family demands Aysha to wear the hijab. “Traditionally, women living in Karajala do not wear hijab. Last year, neither Aysha was wearing the religious head kerchief. Besides that, this year she refused to attend sports and music lessons. When I asked her the reason, she said that father forbade her. It is very important for me that the child received education. I will try to negotiate with her parents and resolve this problem somehow.”

According to official statistics 10,7% of the Georgian population – about 399,000 persons – are Muslims. 333,000 of them are ethnic Azerbaijani. Part of them thinks that in accordance to the Muslim tradition, a girl shall wear a hijab over 14.

Aysha’s parents blame the school direction in the violation of the religious rights of the girl. “It is not true that I am oppressing the daughter. She is growing up in a religious family and knows that she must wear a hijab after she turns 14. Aysha is a good student. On behalf of the school she participated in many competitions and gained many prizes and awards. I want my daughter to get education. It was our main purpose why we made this issue public. Do you see these roads?” Aysha’s father Tahir asked and showed the wounding roads of the village –“it is impossible to walk there in winter. I used to put Aysha on my shoulders and took to school. It is my obligation to teach the child and the director shall not create obstacles.”

14-year-old Miranda was refused to go to school with hijab in Karajala village school last year. “Since then I am not going to school. I want to learn like my classmates do,” Miranda said….