The leadership of Al-Muminaat (The Believing Women Organisation) has called on all individuals, agencies, groups, ministries and all other government parastatals to put an end to the harassment of Muslim women in Hijab and to stop denying them their rights on the grounds of their Hijab.
Speaking at a Press Conference to commemorate the World Hijab Day at the organisation’s secretariat, the Amirah (female leader), Hajiah Nimatullah Abdulquadri reminded Nigerians that the Hijab, which is a symbol of the Muslim woman, is supported by the Nigerian constitution.
She quoted section 38 subsections 1 & 2 of the Nigerian Constitution (as amended) to reinforce her point.
Section 38 (1) “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
“(2) No person attending any place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction or to take part in or attend any religious ceremony or observance if such instruction, ceremony or observance relates to a religion other than his own, or religion not approved by his parent or guardian.
Al-Mu’minaat asserted unequivocally that it is criminal to harass Muslim women, deny their rights, profile them or discriminate against them in any manner whatsoever just because they choose to exercise their rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion by wearing the hijab.
She further urged officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC); National Identity Card Management Commission (NIMC), Nigerian Immigration Service and all other agencies that deal with image capturing to stop forcing Muslim women to expose their ears during image capturing as this defeats the purpose of the apparel.
“A point to note here is that if an image is captured with the ears exposed, the image captured will not match those of their bearers, as Muslim women always show up in public places with their full hijab.
“So the essence of identification is defeated. Capturing the full face is also in line with international best practices. Hijab is the identity of the Muslim women the world over. To deny that fact is to be vicious and intolerant,” she said.
Moving ahead, Hajiah Abdulquadri stated that in pursuant to achieving one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is Girl Child Education, secondary school teachers, principals and officials of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) should stop denying Muslim girls their right to Hijab, which she said, is born out of hate and extremism.
“The denial of Muslim girls’ education and assault on women in hijab is a rape of justice and genocide against the Muslim community. This is because some parents may deny their female children education due to the oppression.
“This will further increase the already poor girl child enrollment figures, increase the number of out-of-school children and a continuation of the cycle of ignorance, backwardness, and of course poverty,” she said.
Al-Mu’minaat hereby called on all true human rights advocates to fight for the rights of Muslim women.
“Muslims have tolerated caps and berets since 1842 when the Christian missionaries opened their first school in Southwest Nigeria. Caps and berets have Christian foundation and philosophy behind them, we have worn them for too long and perhaps that is the main reason Christians in public and private institutions are vehemently against the hijab, even though women wear it freely in Britain and other advanced democracies.”
…Condemns murder of CAN Anambra Chairman
The leading Muslim women organisation in Nigeria also condemned the murder of the Chairman of the Adamawa State chapter of the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) and sympathises with the bereaved family.
She said, “It is pertinent to add our voice to the condemnation of Boko Haram and all such misguided groups killing innocent individuals. The murder of a chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Adamawa is an act that is against Islam. Boko Haram does not represent Islam in any way.
“Such groups are evil and must not be associated with Islam and Muslims. Indeed, they are creations of perverted systems that have much to gain from insecurity and disharmony in Nigeria. Our condolences go to the families of Christians and Muslims who are victims of Boko Haram’s savagery and we pray to Allah to destroy the group and expose their sponsors. Amin.
“We call on the federal government not to relent in their efforts to end banditry, kidnappings and the menace of Boko Haram. Insecurity of lives and properties endangers sustainable development.”