Update: Massachusetts college alters policy banning face coverings

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Update: This post was originally titled, “Niqabs Banned at Massachusetts College.” But alhamdulillah, according to CNN:

A Massachusetts college has modified a controversial security policy after criticism it infringed on the religious rights of students, a school official said Friday.

The original policy, meant for “safety and security” reasons, elicited a response from CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Ibrahim Hooper, communications director at CAIR, “filed a third-party complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.”

After the complaint, George Humphrey, the vice president for College Relations, e-mailed Hooper, announcing the new policy.

“We have reviewed our ID policy and made an accommodation for religious reasons,” the e-mail said. “Thank you for your input on this matter.”

Read the full article here.

Allahmdulillahi Rabb al-Aalameen.

This little obscure hijab website would like to thank CAIR for their quick action, and the MCPHS for amending their policy.

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Original Post: This is a sad piece of information we just learned about the niqab “any head covering that obscures a student’s face” at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Healthy Sciences.

Leave it to Daniel Pipes to write a piece like this… but has anyone else heard this news?

Apparently, in early December, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences banned the face veil for “security” reasons. The dean of the college sent out a memo, saying,

From: Jean M. Joyce-Brady
Date: Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 3:23 PM
Subject: Revised MCPHS Identification Policy – Beginning January 1, 2010
To: All Students
Cc: All Faculty, All Staff

Dear MCPHS Students,

As of January 1, 2010, the MCPHS Identification Policy will be revised as stated below. Language in blue font indicates changes in the policy. Human Resources (HR) will be communicating with faculty and staff shortly regarding a similar change to the HR employee identification policy. Thank you for your attention to this policy change.

Sincerely,

Dean Joyce-Brady

IDENTIFICATION POLICY

For reasons of safety and security, all students must be readily identifiable while they are on campus and/or engaged in required off-campus activities, including internships and clinical rotations. Therefore, any head covering that obscures a student’s face may not be worn, either on campus or at clinical sites, except when required for medical reasons. In addition, all students are required to wear their College-issued ID at all times when on campus and/or engaged in required off-campus activities, and to show such upon request of a properly identified official or member of the MCPHS staff. Loss of an ID Card should be reported immediately to the MCPHS Department of Public Safety. The fee to replace an I.D. card–for any reason– is $10; application and payment for replacement is made at the Office of the Registrar. The I.D. card also serves as the College library card.

Jean M. Joyce-Brady, Ph.D.
Dean of Students
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

The niqab/burqa presenting a security risk is totally bogus, and this ban is a horrible restriction on a Muslim woman’s freedom and right to practice her religion.

We’ll be seeking to confirm this news, insha’Allah, and writing to the MCPHS about our concerns.

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