Xaveriuscollege students talk about rainbow flag incident: “If Muslim women are not allowed to wear headscarves, why are LGBTQ+ flags allowed?” (Antwerp)

Read also. Rainbow flag causes a stir at Xaverius College in Borgerhout: ‘Wake-up call’

Every student who walked out of the green gate of Xaverius College on Wednesday had a conversation in class today about events with science. The teachers started the first semester of the day by reading a statement from the board on this issue. “What happened yesterday is based on a misunderstanding and misunderstanding of rainbow science. We are happy to repeat this on Xaco (short for Xaverius College, editor)There is no place for hatred against people based on culture, religion or sexual orientation. As the Board of Directors, we invite you to engage in discussions calmly, rationally and with great respect for one another.”

© Victoriano Moreno

The rainbow flag was lowered, cut, and spat on during play on Tuesday. This leads to heated discussions the next day. It soon becomes clear that this is a sensitive topic. Most students really want to say something, but they prefer to do it anonymously so as not to offend anyone. There are four girls from the fourth high school outside the school gate. They are 15 and 16 years old. A girl wearing a headscarf takes the lead in the conversation. I wore the hijab after school because it is forbidden in school.

“I think that might be the problem. The school wants to be neutral and therefore does not allow headscarves. We should not express ourselves as pro-Palestine as Muslims. At the same time, the school defends Ukraine in the current conflict. Badges were even worn for Ukraine in the school And now the school is also flying a pro-LGBTQIA+ flag.”

neutrality

All girls are Muslim. “That’s not what this debate is about, it’s about school neutrality. Of course we respect LGBs and believe everyone is equal. The students who dropped the flag are completely wrong, but we understand where their frustration comes from.”

“This flag has also been vandalized by non-Muslims.”

Xaverius College Student

A classmate joins her. “I just want to say that it was not only Muslims who spit on the flag. Our director said that in the newspaper today, but it is not true. This flag was also vandalized by non-Muslims. A large group formed around the flag on the ground and there was loud applause from Many students. It is not acceptable for the administration to target Muslims in the school in this way. We have made it clear in the class discussion and our teacher will also pass this message on to the administration for us.”

The school board sent a subtle message to teachers, students and parents later on Wednesday. “(…) The reports that appeared in the press about this, in turn, rightly aroused outrage. The newspaper articles falsely gave the impression that the removal of some flags would only be done with the support of Muslim youth or even by all Muslims. This is of course not the case. We sincerely apologize For those who were hurt by this. (…) ”, writes the administration.

© Victoriano Moreno

One of the students who removed the flag from the playground was in the class of Yadi (12) and Gisela (12). They are in high school first. “The flag was removed several times and hung again. Meanwhile, discussions and arguments erupted in the stadium over the flag. Soon things got out of hand and a group of students of all ages formed around the flag. There was applause and there were shouts,” says Yadi.

love is love

According to the students, it was a girl from her gay brother who tried to hang the flag. It’s a sensitive topic. My uncle is gay and I think it is important to get behind the message the rainbow flag wants to convey. Yesterday I got a message from a friend who told me she was bi, but I found it very difficult to come up with it because there were still so many misunderstandings. It should not be. I really like the fact that the school has a rainbow flag. “Love is love,” Yad says.

Gisela is aware of the sensitivities. “I feel there are more disagreements between Muslims and non-Muslims today and that is a shame. A Muslim boy today stressed sitting next to the girl who returned the flag. I understand Muslims feel a bit targeted because they are not allowed to wear the hijab at school.”

“There are students who still think homosexuality is a choice. They also don’t know what the flag stands for.”

Xaverius College Student

There is a lot of debate about why the flag was removed yesterday. Three sixth graders, ages 17-18, are also talking about it at the school gate. They discuss it spontaneously above all else. “I say it’s misinformation. There are still students who think homosexuality is a choice. They also don’t know what the flag stands for,” says one of them.

“I guess it was more of anonymity for the group. Soon many students were spitting on the flag. I don’t know if everyone is acting consciously. I think a lot of guys just want to be fun and sexy.”

The girl from the group of three has a different opinion. “I think they acted very consciously and the school should learn from that. Students who took the initiative cannot get away with a simple punishment. The school should discuss the matter in more detail with them. You cannot compare this flag to wearing a headscarf or to Palestine. The rainbow flag is about someone’s identity. And you cannot and should not oppose it.”

Management also announced that there will soon be a moment when “we will continue to discuss this matter with each other in the good old Xaco tradition.”

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