Reacting to the ongoing Hijab row in Karnataka, the U.S. Office of International Religious Freedom (IRF) on Friday said that the hijab ban “violate religious freedom and stigmatize and marginalize women and girls.”
In a tweet, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for IRF Rashad Hussain said, “Religious freedom includes the ability to choose one’s religious attire,” adding that Karnataka should not determine permissibility of religious clothing.
In an interim order yesterday, the Karnataka High Court restrained students from wearing saffron shawls, hijabs, religious flags or the likes within classrooms.
“Whether wearing of hijab in the classroom is a part of essential religious practice of Islam in the light of constitutional guarantees, needs a deeper examination,” the three-judge Bench had said.
Following a law-and-order situation, the State government had ordered the closure of educational institutions on February 8, 2022.
High schools in Karnataka are set to reopen on February 14, while colleges coming under the Department of Higher Education and the Department of Collegiate and Technical Education will reopen on February 17.
The statement by the Ambassador came only hours after Union Minister for External Affairs, S. Jaishankar, met U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the fourth Quad ministerial meeting in Melbourne.
The Office of International Religious Freedom is a U.S. government body, that monitors “religiously motivated abuses, harassment, and discrimination worldwide”