Niqab-wearing Muslim student refuses teacher’s request to unveil

NEWS – The Signal
By: Sean Keenan | Senior ReporterPosted: September 16, 2016

Georgia State student Nabila Khan was asked by a professor to remove her niqab in compliance with Georgia’s Anti-mask laws.Photo Illustration by Dayne Francis | The Signal

When Georgia’s anti-mask laws were scrawled into state code some 60 years ago, supportive legislators sought to curb anonymous violence by hooded Ku Klux Klansmen. But first-year Georgia State student Nabila Khan never guessed such a law would bring into question her niqab, a veil worn by some Muslim women which covers everything but the eyes.
On Aug. 25, during Khan’s first week of college, one of her teachers held her after class to request she not conceal her face. Khan refused, claiming such an ask violated her right to freely exercise her religious beliefs.
“I wear it to work. I wear it to school,” she told The Signal about her niqab. “Many people have this misconception that, as Muslim women, we’re oppressed or forced to wear it. But to me it’s more about having a choice. My parents never told me I had to wear it, and sometimes they ask, ‘Are you sure you want to wear it?’”
She’s sure. Khan said she feels proud and “protected” when wearing her niqab. “This is the only way I can practice my religion the way I believe it’s meant to be practiced,” she said.
However, Georgia’s anti-mask law states any “device which conceals the identity of the wearer” is only allowed when used for physical protection or on certain holidays. Georgia, unlike some states such as Louisiana and Minnesota, has yet to amend that code to allow for religion-related exemptions.
The teacher, who will remain unnamed in this article at Khan’s request, noted on the class syllabus that students should not “obscure the face” in class. The teacher also gave Khan …

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