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Al-Mu’minaat flays assault on Muslim women, demands justice

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Al-Mu’minaat National Networking Officer, Hajia Fatimah Daud (left), Naibatul Amirah, Hajia Sherifa Yusuf-Ajibade; Amirah, Hajia Nimatallah AbdulQuadri , Secretary-General, Hajia Mutiat Olushesi an others at the briefing to commemorate World Hijab Day in Lagos.

Al-Mu’minaat Organisation (The Believing Women) has expressed displeasure over the incessant social ridicule of Muslim women putting on headwear (Hijab) in the country.

The group demanded for strict punishment for any individual who assault Muslim women for wearing Hijab.

“We demand that private individuals or officers of government and other institutions such as teachers, principals and others be sued and prosecuted for going against the constitution of Nigeria and court pronouncements,” it stated.

The group stated that despite the clear provisions of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly which provides for the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, Muslim women and girls are still being subjected to persecution, ridicule, oppression and injustice because of their religion.

The National Amirah of Al-Mu’minaat Organisation, Hajia Nimatullah AbdulQuadri during the press briefing to commemorate 2020 World Hijab Day (WHD), themed ‘Unity in Diversity’ said the denial of Muslim girls’ education and assault on women in hijab is a rape of justice and genocide against the Muslim community.

“Girl-child education is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) yet 25 years after the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA), bigots in secondary schools in collaboration with overzealous WAEC staff, in Southern Nigeria still deny Muslim students education and registration for critical exams because of the hijab.

“Several Muslim girls have been physically assaulted by having their hijabs ripped off their heads due to hate and extremism. This oppression 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 faulted the act of removing headwear (Hijab) while capturing for Identification Document (ID).

“Nigerian Immigration Service and National Identity Card at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) have become burdensome for Muslim women. They are insulted, ridiculed and molested by officials in these organisations to remove their head covers or expose their ears even though their faces and fingerprints are visible.

“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.

Nigerian Immigration Service and National Identity Card at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has become burdensome for Muslim women. They are insulted, ridiculed and molested by officials in these organisations to remove their head covers or expose their ears even though their faces and fingerprints are visible.

“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”.

The group calls on all true human rights advocates to fight for the rights of Muslim women.

“Government policies and laws protect the rights of women to wear the hijab but fanatical non-Muslims in positions of authority spare no opportunity to victimize Muslim women and girls for daring to change the narrative of backwardness and failure by striving for excellence even with their hijabs.

“We shall not surrender to those who will not allow us exercise our constitutional rights while we are not trespassing on theirs. For as long as harassment, discrimination, stigmatisation and profiling of persons in hijab continue, we shall not be tired of using all legal means and instruments at our disposal to fight for justice,” she said.

She urged Muslims in Southern Nigeria, to come together and re-strategise in order to put an end to the daily trauma of Muslim girl child.

“Our children are traumatised daily, their self-confidence derided. Our cries seem unheard by the government, media and civil society because they are selective with their attention, we will not continue to lament in the corners of our rooms when even court judgments in our favour are not respected”.

Al-Mu’minaat Lagos State Chapter Amirah , Hajia Bushrah Adeagbo-Jubril said the group would commemorate WHD with a walk which is going to be decentralize all over the country.

“For this year WHD, we are having collation walk in which Muslim organisations were invited.The walk will take place at 3 zones across Lagos State, Mary land, Ojo and Ado Odo Ota zone. Maryland zone will walk from Maryland to Ojota and converge at Gani Fawehimin Pack, Ojo zone will walk from Ijaniki Bus-stop to Cele Roundabout while Ado Odo Ota zone will work from Ansarudeen Playing Ground to Sango Ota Roundabout”.

She noted that the purpose of walk is to advocate for the use of hijab in public places without discrimination. ‘ We believe when people see us during the work they will perceive the beauty of Islam and acknowledge that hijab is part and parcel of Muslim women.

She added that the programme is as well going on in other State like Oyo, Edo, Ogun state and Abuja.

“ Coalation lectures will be delivered in Mapo hall Ibadan, Zulikha Abiola school Abeokuta, National Mosque Abuja, City Central Mosque Oshogbo and Igun central Mosque Benin city on Saturday first of February” she said.

The Naibatul Ameerah, Hajia Yusuf Ajibade recalled the success stories of Muslim women in Hijab, adding that the narratives have changed. “We shall no longer allow the biases and stereotypes of failure and backwardness to linger in the Muslim community register. Our success stories continue to speak for what we represent. Sisters in hijab and even face veils are performing excellently at all levels of education and in various disciplines. The Muslim woman won’t be left behind any longer.

“Muslim women in the military and paramilitary are forced to do away with their hijab. This is a denial of their rights. The constitution seeks to protect all citizens and so Muslims in all professions, the military inclusive must be allowed to be Muslims indeed. It only enhances inclusivity, tolerance and ensures nobody is left behind. We hereby demand that Muslim ladies serving the nation in the National Youth Services Corps (NYSC) and in military or paramilitary be allowed to use the hijab.

“We shall not surrender to those who will not allow us exercise our constitutional rights while we are not trespassing on theirs. For as long as harassment, discrimination, stigmatisation and profiling of persons in hijab continue, we shall not be tired of using all legal means and instruments at our disposal to fight for justice” she said.


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