Teachers ordered us to remove our hijabs on Racial Harmony Day

By Nabilah Belladonna

This incident happened 8 years ago at my newly merged school on Racial Harmony Day itself.

My friend, Aishah, was stopped by a teacher midway to Malay language class; she was instructed to remove her hijab because apparently her hijab was deemed a bad influence to thousands of students in the school.

She did so immediately since the teacher refused to let her attend her next class unless she complied.

Later that day, she told me what happened when we met and with my encouragement, she chose to put on her hijab once more.

On our way to the canteen both of us were confronted by another female teacher (who by the way shared the same race and religion as us) and were also ordered by her to remove our hijabs; again she dangled the same reason as the previous teacher did - our actions will unduly influence others.

We both ended up crying in the toilet during recess because we felt humiliated. Removing our hijabs forcibly was akin to stripping us naked without consent; this left us exposed and frightened.

We decided firmly to keep our hijabs on till the end of the day despite receiving death stares from both teachers who informed us to remove them earlier.

Thinking back, I was glad we had each other for support while remaining steadfast in our faith.

This first appeared as a post on the Facebook wall of Nabilah Belladonna on 18 July 2019. Do join in the discussion over there if you have thoughts to share.


Singapore’s Social Divide Problem Extends Beyond The School

12 year old son bought sharp lethal weapon from Hako@Tampines 1

I was bullied in primary school... by my own damn teacher