A student at Hampton University in Virginia was forced by her school to get a letter from her mosque just to get her student ID, she says, because as a Muslim, she chooses to wear a traditional scarf over her head.
The head covering is commonly known as a hijab and is worn by may Muslim women. A hijab may also cover a woman’s face and other parts of the body to comply with the Muslim requirement to dress modestly, but student Melona Clarke simply wears a scarf over her head.
But the dress code at the university prohibits women from wearing “caps and hoods.” Why the school imposes that restriction on women is another question, but the school allows exceptions for religious headgear, as long as a student can provide documents to prove that she is actually wearing the head covering as art of an established religious practice.
That put Clarke (pictured) in the position of having to prove to school authorities that she was actually a Muslim.
“I went to go get my ID in the police office, and I was in the front of the line and I was told that I would not be able to get my ID because I wear a hijab,” Clarke told local TV station WTKR.
The campus cops told her that she needed a letter from the school’s chaplain documenting her Muslim faith. But even that wouldn’t be enough. She was also forced to get a signed letter from her local mosque.
She got her ID, but now carries both letters with her all the time anyway.
“If I am ever stopped and asked who I am, what I am doing on campus, I want to have all the proof that I can that I am a student here because I don’t want to have to go through anything like I went through in the first place, and I don’t want other people to have to go through that either,” she said.
Hampton University is a historically African-American school founded in 1868 to offer education to freed slaves.
SOURCES: WTKR TV, Wikipedia