The parents of a Muslim girl have been threatened with legal action by her school for refusing to send her in a shorter skirt, while the family is insisting it is against their religious beliefs.
Siham Hamud, a student at Uxbridge High School in Middlesex's Hillingdon in England, has been wearing an ankle-length skirt to school for years. However, teachers began raising objections on her attire last month and sent her back every day for "incorrect uniform." Now the school has threatened to take legal action against the family over the unauthorised absences.
Meanwhile, Hamud has refused to change the length of her skirt as it is "against her religious beliefs." The 12-year-old has also said she felt "bullied" by the school.
The uniform for girls at Uxbridge High School allows either black trousers or a black pleated skirt from official uniform suppliers. The family says the skirt permitted by the school falls above the knee.
Idris Hamud, Siham's father, says both of the uniform choices violate the family's strict religious beliefs as the traditional branch of Islam they follow believes women should only wear long skirts. The school has however threatened it would take Idris and his wife Salma Yusuf to court on the grounds of Siham's alleged unauthorised absences.
Siham, who is currently attending classes from her home due to new COVID-19 restrictions said about the incident: "It feels like bullying because of what I believe. I think they should just let me wear my school uniform to school."
"I like school normally, and English, drama and RE are my favourite lessons but I couldn't attend. I find it annoying because I've missed a month of school, so I have to catch up a lot. I wish I could just have gone to school as normal," she added.
Siham also said that it makes her feel left out, as she is not able to see her friends either. "They aren't accepting me for my religion and that's wrong," she said.
Siham feels "confused and annoyed" at not being able to wear what she wants for her religion, and hopes that the school will change its rules allowing them to wear such skirts.
Her father, who is an athletics coach, complained: "My daughter is being denied an education because of her religious beliefs. All Siham wants to do is to wear a skirt which is a few centimetres longer than her classmates - and I don't know why the school has such a problem with this. She is sent home to change into a shorter skirt then return to school later that day - but she isn't going to change her beliefs in an hour."
He added that he will not force his daughter to wear a longer skirt as it's her faith and her decision. The 55-year-old said it's "heartbreaking" that her daughter who used to love school is now crying.