Teacher resigns after Muslim scarf debate

LANCASTER, California (AP) — A part-time college instructor accused of ordering a Muslim student to either remove her religious head scarf or leave his class has resigned, school officials said.

Robert Daniel, who taught computer science at Antelope Valley College, submitted his resignation Friday.

The college’s board of trustees had been considering disciplinary action against him.

The Hijab

“Hijab is the modern name for the practice of dressing modestly, which all practicing Muslims past the age of puberty are instructed to do in their holy book, the Qur’an. No precise dress code for men or women is set out in the Qur’an, and various Islamic scholars have interpreted the meaning of hijab in different ways.”

“We could have dismissed him — that was an option,” interim college President Jackie Fisher said. “You have two sides to a story, and there was no reason to doubt the student.”

the student, Fajr Burhan, complained that Daniel ordered her to remove her head scarf, called a hijab, or leave his computer information science class on February 18.

Burhan, 19, said Daniel told her he did not permit headgear because it might block the view of other students.

Burhan said she refused to take it off and told Daniel the scarf was worn for religious reasons. She said he became “very furious.”

“I had the worst feeling about making this teacher quit or get fired … and I didn’t want to ruin his whole career,” Burhan told The Los Angeles Times.

However, she added, “I didn’t think he could be fair. Even if he apologized to me, he would have a negative view of Muslims or women who wear the hijab.”

There was no immediate comment from Daniel, who had taught at the school since August 2002. No one answered a call Saturday to a phone number for R. Daniel.

Lancaster is located about 70 miles north of Los Angeles.


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Associated Press, USA
Feb. 28, 2004
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Religion News Blog posted this on Sunday February 29, 2004.
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