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What does India’s hijab ban mean for the Muslim community? | TV shows

Thursday, February 24, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. GMT:
A recent hijab ban in some schools in South India has reignited a debate about religious freedom in the world’s largest democracy. Citing new government restrictions, schools in Karnataka are banning students from wearing religious symbols such as the headscarf in class. Muslim Youth Videos women and girls forced to remove their hijab before entering school has gone viral and sparked widespread protests in India and around the world.

The ban comes as India becomes less tolerant of its Christian and Muslim minority populations under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Elections in northern India this month are seen as a litmus test for Modi’s popular support. Critics say BJP officials are using the hijab ban to excite far-right Hindu voters and to distract from the party’s weak response to the pandemic and its approach to the economy.

“We have been wearing hijab for years without any problem, but now the issue has suddenly been taken up by the BJP… to inflame communal tensions,” said Kaneez Fatima, Congressman of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.

However, government officials say they simply ban any religious symbol in public schools that “disrupts equality, integrity and public order”. The ban stands while the Karnataka High Court considers a petition on its legality.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll discuss what’s happening in Karnataka, its connection to an election 1,400km away, and the growing polarization between India’s Hindu and Muslim communities.

On this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Fatima Khan, @khanthefatima
Journalist, The Quint

Shazia Ilmi, @shaziailmi
BJP Spokesperson

Saira Shah Halim, @sairashahhalim
Educator, writer and activist