Christian teacher accused of veil snatching

A Lebanese Muslim man said Friday he has filed a complaint against a Christian teacher for trying to snatch a veil from his daughter's head.

"After the year-end holidays, a Christian teacher tried to tear off the veil of my 12-year-old daughter, Ghiwa, and banned her from entering the classroom veiled," Ahmad al-Baarin said.

"The teacher made offensive remarks ... and tried to snatch the veil. He even made her fall over by pushing her when she tried to defend herself," he said.

Baarin said he has also filed a complaint against the school's director for complicity after the principal "expressed solidarity with the teacher."

Contacted by AFP, director Yussef Beshara insisted "the student was not mistreated or forced to remove her veil" at the public school in the mixed region of Kura whose teachers are all Christian and half its pupils Muslim.

But the father won support from the Muslim community.

"This case is contrary to the law and the spirit of coexistence in the country. It undermines Muslims," said Ihab Nafeh, president of the Muslim students association in northern Lebanon.

The constitution bans any abuse of religious symbols in Lebanon, a country of 18 different religious communities and where a 1975-1990 civil war was fought at least partly across a Muslim-Christian divide.

Baarin meanwhile has moved his daughter and son Khaled, 8, to a new school saying: "My children have a right to education and at the same time to preserve their religious beliefs."

 

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