Muslim gown schoolgirl wins case

Muslim gown schoolgirl wins case ~ A girl was unlawfully excluded from school for wearing a traditional Muslim gown instead of school uniform, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Shabina Begum, 15, accused Denbigh High School in Luton, Beds, of denying her "right to education and to manifest her religious beliefs".

Cherie Booth QC represented her at the appeal court hearing in December.

Judges were told then the case involved "fundamental issues" of the freedom to practise religion.

Miss Begum, whose father and mother are both dead, had worn the regulation shalwar kameez (trousers and tunic) from when she joined the school at the age of 12 until September 2002.

At that time she and her brother, Shuweb Rahman, informed assistant headteacher Stuart Moore she would be wearing a full length gown-type garment called a jilbab.

The head teacher and governors of the school where 79% of pupils were Muslim said this was not acceptable and she should keep to the accepted uniform policy.

After Miss Begum was sent home a series of court cases started and the latest of these was heard at the Appeal Court in December.

High Court judge Mr Justice Bennett had already dismissed the girl's application for judicial review, ruling that she had failed to show the 1,000-pupil school had excluded her or breached her human rights.