The Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations of Nigeria (FOMWAN) has warned that the discrimination against and harassment of Muslim women wearing the hijab in Nigeria must stop forthwith.
The association gave the warning in a press statement issued by its National Amirah, Hajiah Rofiah Idowu Sanni on Tuesday in commemoration of the 2022 World Hijab Day, noting that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria gives Muslim women the right to use the hijab without let or hindrance.
“The World Hijab Day was birthed out of the continuous persecution, oppression, victimization and molestation of Muslim girls and women adorning the hijab in some places across the world, Nigeria inclusive. The call for an end to the unending assault led to World Hijab Day, set aside to sensitise and create awareness on the discrimination against hijab-wearing Muslim women and girls,” the statement read.
“The incessant discrimination against women using the hijab must stop abruptly. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria grants us the freedom to practice our chosen faith without discrimination and even the United Nations Charter. So why the intolerance and bigotry?”
The statement further said denying Muslim women their right to wear the hijab cannot guarantee peaceful coexistence and unity in the country.
FOMWAN, meanwhile, encouraged Muslim women to renew and reaffirm their intention of using the hijab, saying the use of hijab is a means of worshipping Allah and seeking His pleasure.
“While the persecution of Muslim women and girls continues to linger in the Nigerian society, it should be known that this act cannot bring about unity and peaceful coexistence. If the Muslims are allowed to practise their religion according to the dictates of the Creator and not their wish. The desired peaceful coexistence and unity cannot be actualised. Islam is a religion of peace and wants peace across the world. As a result, heads of institutions, establishments, and others should respect their freedom of religion.
“To my dear sisters, we need to renew and reaffirm our intention of using the hijab. The use of the hijab is a means of worshipping Allah and seeking His pleasure. By virtue of that, we must use it for His sake. Using the hijab is not enough, but we should be of best characters. We must be seen as good ambassadors of Islam, be diligent in dealing with people. Anyone using the hijab, khimar, or niqab should know that they are carrying the emblem of Islam, as such, they need to act according to the teachings of Islam. You should be differentiated from the crowd for good.
“The usage of hijab should be taken note of. It is to cover the beauty of what is beneath, so the hijab itself should not be attractive. Those who will use the hijab should not reveal their ears. These are part of what Allah wants us to cover. Our dressing should not be attractive. You are not expected to use perfume that will call the attention of others towards you. Even the use of bangles, the Qur’an also addresses it.
“My dear sisters, do not be discouraged by those that are not doing it. It’s the commandment of Allah you are obeying and always remember that your reward lies with Him alone,” it added.
FOMWAN also clarified that World Hijab Day is not a festival as there are only two festivals in Islam.
“The day is just centered around awareness creation on the understanding of hijab in Islam and how the religion has established it. As Muslims that we are, it is expected of us to propagate the principles of Islam in our capability and capacity.
“I hereby call on all members of FOMWAN home and abroad to remain dedicated to this cause and continue to sensitise and educate people about the hijab, in terms of our character, dressing and interaction with people.
“We felicitate with the Muslimah and Muslim ummah across the globe on this awareness programme and pray Allah to grant us the ability to practise Islam according to His legislation; to meet His mercy and blessing in this world and the hereafter.”
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