Sanya returns to school waking us to demand religious freedom in schools

Press Release – Hindu Council demands Freedom of and From Religion in faith based schools

You may be aware that a Hindu girl studying in a Catholic school in Perth was asked to remove her nose stud as it violated school uniform policy. Parents of the girl and then Hindu Council of Australia told the school that a nose stud is an item of religious significance and is obligatory.

The school however did not relent. Hindu Council of Australia took up the matter with archbishop of Perth. We got an acknowledgement of our letter but did not hear any thing further after that. The school went on its own spree to interpret Hinduism which was strongly objected to by Hindu Council.

Hindu Council then took up the matter with Catholic education in Sydney and were assured that the matter is being discussed and has not been forgotten. Hindu Council made an appeal to Minister of Education WA to frame rules for religious freedom of students of other faiths in faith based schools. Many other Hindu groups in Perth have also been pursuing the issue.

Finally, today, six weeks after missing her school, Sanya has finally started going to her school. While we are happy that Sanya is back in her school, we urge the school to do the extra yard to help her with the missed six weeks of her education.

Hindu Council of Australia salutes the steadfastness of Sanya and her mother and is planning to award them as they make a good role model for young girls growing up in Australia.

While Sanya is back and busy with her studies, our fight for religious freedom in faith based school has just begun. Hindu Council of Australia wants a freedom of religion for students, employees and teachers of other faiths in faith based schools. We demand state and federal education minsters, state and federal multi cultural ministers and parliaments to pass laws granting freedom of religion in faith based schools :

  1. Each faith based school should make public its policy for students, employees and teachers of other faiths.
  2. Those of other faiths in faith based school should not be coerced to convert, should not be asked to hide their religious identity, should be clearly told that their participation in religious services is optional and non-participation will not be viewed negatively.
  3. Faith of an applicant should not be a reason to refuse admission or employment, to refuse promotion or participation in school.
  4. Faith based schools must admit a certain percentage of students, employees, teachers of other faiths so that students while learning about their own religion, do not grow without contact with students and people of other faiths, cultures, orientation and backgrounds.

 

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