Muslim student in Canada barred from exam after refusing to remove hijab

Ottawa:A student in Canada has not been allowed to appear for an exam after she refused to partially remove her hijab.

A male biology teacher had requested the student to pull her headscarf behind her ears so he could see if she was wearing headphones. “She didn’t want to show him her ears,” Line Legare, a spokesperson for Montreal’s College de Maisonneuve said.


According to Legare, the student said the teacher could touch her hijab to establish that she was not wearing headphones but that “made the teacher uncomfortable.”

Following the exchange between the two, the teacher resorted to telling the girl she could not sit for the exam that day. The teacher was also known to have a policy whereby he asked all students to prove they were not using headphones to cheat by showing him their ears.

While no official complaint has been filed by the student so far, the school is negotiating another time for the girl to appear for the biology exam.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard was asked about the incident and he defended the teacher’s actions. He added that a bill regarding religious accommodation put forward by his government would give Canadians the chance to debate such issues.


With Quebec being a province that has been shaken by fears of homegrown terrorism and radicalised young people, the topic of Islamic dress has proved to be a sensitive subject.

In January, a student in Montreal said she was turned away from a roller skating rink for wearing a hijab. Despite this, the country passed a regulation allowing female police officers to wear the headscarf in August.

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