… Hundreds of Muslims gathered to celebrate World Hijab Day
… Call for end to discrimination
By Amidu Arije
The Muslims groups from the Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, Muslim Students Society of Nigeria, Al-Mu’minaat Organisation, Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Nasrullah-li-Fathiu Society of Nigeria (NASFAT), Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Lagos Secretariat Mosque, Akhwaat, to Izharul-Haq Movement unanimously urged school principals, teachers and other civil servants to allow the use of hijab as prescibed by the law and end the discrimination of Muslim women who adorn themselves with the hijab saying it is the constitutional right of every Nigerian Muslim girl child and women to use the hijab.
Speaking at the annual hijab day celebration in Lagos on Saturday, the Director of Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, Hajia Mutiat Orolu-Balogun said despite the law allowing the Muslim women the right to use the hijab, there are still some elements within the governments establishments who still torment persons using the Islamic garment for the female folks.
Orolu-Balogun spoke at the end of a walk for hijab in commemorating the world hijab day which commenced at the Allen Avenue Round About and end at the Lagos State Secretariat Mosque, Ikeja said the officers of the immigration office and other national identity cards offices need to be trained and retrained on the need to recognise, respect and honour the woman in Hijab why doing capturing in their various offices.
She said; “the constitution prohibits that anyone should be discriminated against either directly or indirectly. Direct discrimination exists where you discriminate against one on the basis of protected characteristics as mentioned by the constitution. e.g age, sex, and so on.
Therefore, if any rule exists from the government, its institution, agencies or even examination bodies, banning/disallowing the hijab, then it is both direct and indirect discrimination. An indirect discrimination exists where a rule is made in general but will put some people in a disadvantageous position. E.g No one should put anything on his or her head. It seems to apply to everyone without discrimination, but Muslims will be affected because we MUST put on hijab. So that general rule indirectly discriminates against a Muslim female.
“Now, as we address the critical issues facing hijab-wearing women in our society, we must confront the challenges posed by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC). On the 19th of January 2024, the NIMC announced the temporary suspension of Front-End Partners from engaging in the National Identification Number enrolments, and has begun retraining them on proper and respectful handling to biometric Data. However, the NIMC has in the past seemed not to have emphasized on two important matters.”
Speaking on why the discrimination against women using the hijab still persists, the human rights advocate said it is due to non prosecuting of persons who harrass them. She, therefore, advocated for the prosecution of any person or group of persons who harass, discriminate or intimidate Muslim women who use the hijab.
In her address to the teeming youths who participated in the ‘walk for Hijab’, Ameera MSSN Lagos, Hajiah Rofiat Tijani condemned the persecution of the Muslim girl child in schools by their principals and other members of staff for wearing the hijab.
She called on the commissioner of education, to weigh in and resolve the imbroglio.
“We must also add that the current trend asking students to “hide their hijabs” in secondary schools in Lagos State is unacceptable and goes against the memo issued by the Head of Service as well as the supreme court judgement. The students are forced to tuck in their Hijabs and also put berets on top of it making sure the hijab is concealed as much as possible, thus defeating the purpose of modesty for which it is worn.
“We therefore, call on the Commissioner of Basic Education, Mr. Jamiu Alli-Balogun to look into this matter urgently in order to forestall all these incidents,” she said.
Also speaking, Ameera of FOMWAN, Hajiah Sherifat Ajagbe called for action against persons who discriminate persons in Hijab.
The FOMWAN Ameera enjoined the Muslim girl child to be a model in her use of hijab saying be a good role model for the hijab will assist in making the message on the importance and God given right on the use of hijab across all and sundry in every strata of life.