(Rashid Ahmad Chaudhry)
Hashim Ahmad, an eleven year old boy, was expelled from school a week after he joined the fee paying Friern Barnet Grammar School, North London, because he objected to participate in communal nude bathing after the P.E. and games session.
Hashim, son of Mr Rashid Ahmed of North London, said that he believed that Islam does not allow its followers to go naked in the company of others. Hashim's parents approached the headmaster of the school and tried to resolve the situation. They requested that their son should be allowed to take bath in swimming trunks, but the headmaster refused to give such permission.
During the first week at school when Hashim was forced to take a shower in the nude, he was so upset that he started to vomit when he reached home. His doctor, therefore, wrote a note to the headmaster asking him to reconsider his stand and find a compromise in the situation, but this request also fell on deaf ears.
The Muslim community of Great Britain is furious about the incident and is taking the case to the Race Relations Council.
The father of another Muslim boy, who also paid the fees, has withdrawn his boy from the school after his similar request was turned down by the headmaster.
The Imam of the London Moque, Maulana Ata-ul-Mujeeb Rashed, has issued a statement on the issue: "Communal nude bathing is completely out of the question for a Muslim. It is compulsory for all Muslims to cover the private parts of their bodies and make sure that these are never exposed to others at any time. It is incumbent upon every Muslim to adhere to these teachings and rules most faithfully and there is no room for any exception in it."
Mr Rashid Ahmad Chaudhry, the Press Secretary of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, when contacted remarked: "Compulsory group nude bathing in a school is a gross infringement upon the civil liberties of a child. Private parts are just what their name implies and are not for indiscriminate viewing by others, whether at a young age or old.I wonder why such a practice is allowed to continue in British schools when other dehumanising rituals such as corporal punishment have all been stopped. I wonder how in this modern age and in a multicultural society such as ours, a headteacher can force the youngsters in his charge to partipate in nude bathing. The sensible teachers who care for children have realised this problem and have dropped the requirement of having group showers in the nude, specially in the case of children who express their distaste for such a practice. However, regrettably, here is a headmaster who was obstinate enough in his approach to expel a young promising boy from school simply because he refused to take part in the parade of naked bodies."
The Review of Religions
Vol. LXXXIII No. 11