The Coalition of Muslim Organisations in Nigeria has called on government at all levels to ensure that Muslim females on hijab were given equal rights with their counterparts in the society.
They made the called on Wednesday during a Press Conference at Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja, to commemorate World Hijab Day 2020 which comes up on February 1, with theme: ”Unity in Diversity”.
The organisations are Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria ( MSSN) Lagos state Area Unit; Nasru-lahi-Fathi Society (NASFAT); Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC); Al Mu’minaat (The believing Women Organisation) Lagos State chapter and Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative (HRAI)
Others are Federation of Muslim Women Associations of Nigeria (FOMWAN); Muslim Public Affairs Centre ( MPAC); Ansar-Ud-Deen Youth of Nigeria (ADYAN); Guild of Muslim Professionals (GMP); Lagos Secretariat Community Central Mosque, Alausa (LSCCM); Pristine Cactus Foundation; The Criterion and International Muslim Women Union (IMWU).
The Executive Director, Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, Mutiat Orolu-Balogun, who read on behalf of the coalition, said that there had been continuous discrimination against hijab wearers in the society, hence, affecting their human rights.
According to her, What the Muslim women want is simply to secure their rights as provided by the constitution.
”We want to be allowed to carry out our duties and contribute to our society without fear of discrimination or experiencing discrimination.
”We want our daughters to be able to attend schools, register and write exams in their hijab without intimidation, abuse and discrimination.
”We want to have equal access to services of regulatory bodies without being asked or expected to first compromise our faith.
”We want to be given a level playing field like everyone else, not to be denied job interviews, job placements and opportunities because we dress as obligated by our faith,” she said.
According to her, hijab is a human rights as much as it is a religious right protected by the constitution.
Orolu-Balogun said that being able to wear the hijab by female Nigerian Muslims without fear or incidents of discrimination or abuse was the practical application of the constitutional provision.
The Executive Director said that discrimination and denial of human rights affected many more people than simply their direct victims, as family members, communities and societies themselves were adversely affected.
”2019 was the year of hijabis! Despite all challenges faced in our schools, workplace and the society at large, we Muslim women in Hijab triumphed against all odds.
”We have excelled in academics, our careers, professions, and nurturing our families. We have proven yet again that we are valuable citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, contributing positively to our communities in every way we can, and to the world at large,” she said.
Orolu-Balogun said that the global theme for the 2020 World Hijab Day was Unity in Diversity, which resonated with Nigerians because Nigeria, being a multi-cultural and multi religious nation, united as one.
She said that no one should be left out or discriminated against because of the language they spoke, the culture they practiced or the religion they professed. (NAN)