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School Drops The Term 'Mufti Day' Due To 'History Of Degradation And Racism'

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School Drops The Term 'Mufti Day' Due To 'History Of Degradation And Racism'

A school in New Zealand has stopped using the term 'mufti day' to refer to a day where kids don't have to wear their uniforms.

The day was always massive on the school calendar because you finally got to flex your creativity and individual style in exchange for a gold coin donation.

There are loads of countries who employ mufti day, including the UK, Ireland, Canada, Fiji, Australia, India, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

However, Trident High School in in Whakatāne has decided to strip any mention of the word.

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It's because 'mufti' is an Arabic word that is used to describe a Muslim scholar of high standing.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The school has since said it will use the term 'kakahu kainga' instead and avoid the word that has been associated with 'degradation and racism', according to the New Zealand Herald.

Kakahu kainga is translated to mean 'home clothes' and was suggested by a year 13 student.

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Trident High School science teacher Annetjie Botha said they made the decision after learning about the history and appropriation of the word 'mufti day'.

"None of us knew about this, so since this is our first mufti for the year, I thought that we should stop using the word," Botha said.

Mufti day was coined by British military leaders in India during the early 1800s and it was meant to describe the type of clothing they would wear when they were off-duty.

This was then mixed up with the formal clothing that mufti scholars wear and that's where it gets problematic.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Trident High School is one of many who have dismissed the word and opted for something different.

The Human Rights Commission said it was a good move from the school and hopes it starts a conversation for people everywhere.

A spokesperson said: "The public's understanding of issues and language changes over time and some words are seen as inappropriate in a present-day context.

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"Communities impacted by colonisation are increasingly deciding to reclaim their words, culture and traditions."

When asked whether the term was offensive, the chairman of the Religious Advisory Board of the Federation of Islamic Association of New Zealand and Mufti of New Zealand said it's a grey area.

Sheikh Mohammad Amir is pleased the school is moving away from using the word mufti. But he stopped short of saying it was openly racist.

"It is not an issue for us," he said. "It is more of if you have better terminology to use then that would be better."

Featured Image Credit: Flickr/PA

Topics: New Zealand, News

Stewart Perrie
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