Birmingham & Black Country

School headscarf row councillor resigns from Birmingham cabinet

Waseem Zaffar
Image caption Councillor Waseem Zaffar has resigned from his cabinet post at Birmingham City Council

An equality chief who became involved in a row over a four-year-old Muslim girl wearing a headscarf in school has resigned from his cabinet post.

Birmingham councillor Waseem Zaffar claimed the school had breached anti-discrimination laws.

Mr Zaffar was related to the pupil but did not make that public, the Birmingham Mail said.

His resignation comes after a government official reportedly told the council his actions were unfair.

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In January, Mr Zaffar posted on Facebook that St Clare's Catholic Primary School were refusing to let the pupil wear a headscarf and said he wanted the matter "addressed asap with a change of policy".

But the Muslim Women's Network UK, amongst others, said the school was not at fault as young girls are not required to wear headscarves.

Image copyright Google Maps
Image caption Councillor Waseem Zaffar met St Clare's Catholic school's head to discuss a complaint from the pupil's family

Subsequently, Mr Zaffar said speculation about him was a distraction for the council.

He said he has also asked the council to set up a "review into all current and historical speculation against me".

The Labour councillor for Lozells and East Handsworth stepped down from his role as the city council's cabinet member for transparency, openness and equality.

His resignation comes after it was reported that government integration tsar Dame Louise Casey wrote to the council claiming Mr Zaffar's actions had been "grossly unfair and undue".

Councillor Ewan Mackey, shadow cabinet member for transparency, openness and equality, has called on the authority to publish all correspondence between councillors and officers relating to the row.

Councillor Tristan Chatfield was appointed as his replacement.

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