Muslim head girl at NZ Catholic school

The popular appointment of a Muslim student as head girl of St Mary's College, Wellington, has raised eyebrows among some who feel the top spot should be reserved for a Catholic.

The Dominion Post reports that Aysser Aljanabi, an Iraqi student and one of the 10% of non-Catholics at the state integrated Wellington city school has been selected as head girl for 2006.

Head students are usually chosen after a student vote and discussions between senior staff and the principal.

Aysser declined to comment on her appointment when contacted by The Dominion Post, and despite repeated calls to the school, principal Mary Cook did not respond either. When approached last year about Aysser becoming the first Muslim head student of a college, the school said an article would be "inappropriate".

Catholic Education Office chief executive Pat Lynch said he was not surprised the appointment had been controversial.

"Given what's going on internationally I can understand some people's reaction."

Non-Catholic students had been head students before but it was important the person was able to "model the values of the school".

"I think it's easier for someone who is a Catholic to do that, but it really depends on the person," he said.

Muslim head girl at Catholic school (stuff.co.nz 15/2/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
St Mary's College, Wellington

15 Feb 2006