Headscarf rule stays, Muslim school says

Amsterdam, Holland - The Islamic College Amsterdam (ICA) announced on Thursday it will ignore the ruling that it cannot insist Muslim women wear a headscarf in order to work as a teacher.

The Equality Commission ruled in November that the ICA was wrong to deprive Samira Haddad, 32, of a teaching job because she refused to cover her head with a scarf. The ICA was given a month to reply to the commission's ruling.

The school's board agreed that, technically speaking, a headscarf was not necessary for the performance of duties in the school. But there are clear clothing regulations in the Islamic religion, the board said. "The necessity is linked to our philosophy of life and the

related rules."

The school also responded to a letter from Amsterdam Alderman Ahmed Aboutaleb, who expressed concern about the school's intolerant attitude. The ICA said the key issue was not one of tolerance but the freedom of religion.

"The profession of the Islamic faith leads to prescribed regulations in relation to clothing," the ICA said.

The decision by the Equality Commission is not legally binding.