Here's the Sunday Times in June, when Shabina Begum lost her case in the High Court:
The teenage girl who fought a two-year legal battle to wear full Islamic dress to school was influenced by an extremist Muslim splinter group. Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT), which is legal in Britain but banned in Germany and much of the Middle East, advised Shabina Begum, a 15-year-old orphan. Her case, which was funded by legal aid, was thrown out by the High Court last week.
Mainstream Muslim leaders reacted angrily to news of extremist involvement in the case. They fear it risks stirring up the sort of controversy sparked in France when the government banned the wearing of the hijab, or headscarf, in school.
Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham’s Perry Bar constituency, said: “Most Muslims are happy with the existing dress code. I think they (HuT) are trying to pick a fight. The Home Office needs to look at some of their activities. At the moment they are very close to the edge.”
Mahmood said HuT’s role was particularly disturbing because of Begum’s vulnerability. She was 13 when, in September 2002, she was sent home from Denbigh high school in Luton for wearing a jilbab, an ankle-length dress that leaves only the face and hands visible.
Begum, who was regarded as a promising pupil, was orphaned last April with the death of her mother. Her father had died in 1992. Her 21-year-old brother, Shuweb Rahman, who helped her bring the case, is an HuT supporter. [...]
Dr Imran Waheed, an HuT spokesman, confirmed that leading activists had encouraged Begum in the dispute. “Our members in Luton have consistently advised Shabina and her family to stand up for her right to an education and her right to observe the Islamic ordinances, including the wearing of the jilbab,” he said in a statement.
That decision has now been overturned on appeal, with major implications for school dress policy in the future.
There's an interesting range of comments at the BBC's talking point. I liked this:
When I was at school I was banned from wearing my lip ring and nose ring, and sent home for dyeing my hair blue. I can only assume that in the light of this ruling, all pupils will be allowed to dress in a way that they choose, to reflect their own cultural beliefs. Otherwise, why are members of organised religion getting privileges of self-expression that are denied to others?