As the world celebrate the World Hijab Day, a group of muslim organisations have decried the discrimination against the Muslim woman in hijab say it is Islamophobia.
Speaking at the world hijab day press conference at the Lagos State Secretariat Mosque, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, Senior Admin Officer Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) Hajia Fatimah Sanni said the group is against discrimination of women in hijab.
She said Muslim women should be allowed to freely practice their religion using the hijab as part of the tenets of their religion and constitutional right.
She said; “at the Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC), we challenge Islamophobia, discrimination, and the ideologies that drive them. At the same time we promote empowerment and freedom to practice hijab in safety. We believe that the female Muslims should be free to express their religious beliefs free of discrimination and prejudice. This is why we have continued to support initiatives like the World Hijab Day campaign.”
“We particularly call the sensibilities of all government agencies to the plight of Muslim women when seeking government services particularly the taking of biometrics. Section 2 of the National Biometric Standards regulation under the National Identity Management Commission Act 2007, mandates all biometric operators whether public or private Organisations to conform with these standards. This said law recognizes the use of the Hijab in its schedule there to and does not require the ears to be brought out of the hijab.”
“Yet we get numerous verified reports of Hijabis being compelled to either take off their hijabs completely or bare their ears when they require their biometrics taken even for a sim card registration! These operators have displayed crass ignorance and bigotry as it is expected that they, more than the ordinary citizen should know the regulations pertaining to the services they render.”
“We urge all Nigerians to contribute to rid our society of hatred, discrimination and bigotry. In a society where the values of equality, fairness, diversity and inclusion are promoted, everyone is a winner.”
The Assistant Welfare Secretary of The Criterion, Lagos District, Hajia Modinat Braimah said the use of the hijab benefits the society not just the user alone.
She said; “the hijab marks the wearer as honorable, respectable, chaste and modest with expected high level of morals. The Muslim woman dressing does not oppress Muslim women or any other woman for that matter as the media wants to portray it. It is not a political tool or a fashion statement. It is the dignity of the human person of a Muslim woman as guaranteed by the constitution of our dear country, Nigeria.”
Hajia Braimah condemned the maltreatment of the dignity of human person in the woman wearing the hijab.
“We must mention the issue faced by defendants accused of crimes or wrong doings. Despite the presumption of innocence, an hijabi who finds herself as a defendant in a police station is usually stripped of her hijab and niqab and most times of her outer garments. The constitutional guaranteed freedom, of Right of dignity of the human person is not suspended because a person is accused of a crime she may not even be guilty of, and even if found guilty our laws are against torture and ill treatment of prisoners,” she said.
Adding; “Our strength as a community and indeed a nation lies not in how we treat the high and mighty, but how we care for the weak and vulnerable.”