For Muslim women, wearing hijab promotes dignity
Reputable Islamic groups have felicitated with Muslims and Non-Muslims all over the world on the occasion of 2018 World Hijab Day (WHD).
The groups called for tolerance and understanding from Non-Muslims brethren who detests Muslim women adorning hijab, seeking that legislation is made to specifically criminalise discrimination, harassment, molestation and persecution of Muslim girls and ladies on the use of religious head cover (hijab)
The messages came from Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN), Coalition of Nigeria Muslim Women, Al-Mu’minaat (The Believing Women) Organization, Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), and Nasirul llahi Fathi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT).
National President, Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, said the World Hijab Day should not be seen as a celebration but a commemoration to show that hijab is beyond culture or mere head scarf but an injunction to the believing Muslim woman to live her life in accordance to the dictate of Her creator.
“We reaffirm the scriptural basis for the adornment of Hijab by Muslim girls and ladies as contained in Glorious Qur’an 24 verse 31 which says “ And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof. That they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty”
He said this is important because many Muslim ladies are subjected to various ridicules, intimidation, harassment, frustration and even beating by non-tolerant colleagues, bosses, neighbors and offices especially government officials because of dressing in line with their faith.
According to him, In Nigeria, despite its multi-religious status, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in section 38 sub-section 1 as amended guaranteed that “ every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (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’’
Balogun noted that support for Miss Firdaus Amasa and her colleague Miss Aisha Zubair over hijab brouhaha during the December 2017 Nigerian Law School call to bar is reaffirmed. “We insist that there must be justice for them and others who were discriminated against because of wearing hijab”.
He commended the courage of the House of Representatives, in instituting a public hearing into the matter on February 6.
“We implore all stakeholders, who believe in equity, justice, fairness and equality to attend and share their respective experiences”, he said.
He reiterated the support for the WHD 2018 with the theme: “My Hijab! My Right! “For any woman who chooses to adorn it in line with her God-given right, global practices and fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria to do so without any hindrance or molestation”.
“ We asks: How does wearing hijab infringe on anybody’s right in Nigeria? So tolerance and understanding is the watch word”
Coalition of Nigeria Muslim Women said this year’s WHD commemoration is replete with mixed feelings for us as Muslim women, mothers, wives, students, professionals in the public and private corporations, security services personnel and so on. This is so because while we have witnessed outstanding visibility of the hijab and giant strides in its development globally, we have also recently experienced some unpleasant wake up calls that entrench our belief and commitment towards increased awareness, engagement and advocacy.
“Globally, we saw Nike, the foremost sports manufacturer launch its Pro-hijab line. Nike’s action is loudly countering liberal democracies by saying- if Muslim women are supported in wearing the hijab while participating in sport, then what can be so wrong about it being worn in other contexts? Recently, technology companies like Apple, various governments and other institutions boldly implemented strategies and policies that support the use of hijab”.
“ we have also seen a niqab ban in Quebec, Canada and the EU court ruling giving employers the right to ban staff from wearing “visible religious symbols”. This is a direct attack on the right of Muslims to wear the hijab. But perhaps for us in Nigeria, the most impactful event was the refusal of the Council of Legal Education to call a Muslim lawyer- Amasa Abdulsalam Firdaus Al-Jannah to the Nigerian Bar owing to her hijab”.
National President, Al-Mu’minaat (The Believing Women) Organization Hajia Nimatullah AbdulQadri said the yearly event was borne out of the challenges and discrimination that the Muslim woman face due to observance of their faith. “From continuous denial of the right to wear hijab to school girls to insistence of institutions that the ears of Hijabis be exposed during data capture; to Amasa firdaus denial of being Call to Bar”, she listed.
AbdulQadri noted that to wear hijab by Muslim women is not the culture of Arabs as some believe or a fashion accessory that one may discard at will. “ It is a religious duty, an obligation on every Muslim woman in observance of her faith.
Despite the clear provisions of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was proclaimed by the united Nations General Assembly which provides for the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, Muslim women are still subjected to a lot of prosecution, ridicule, oppression and justice because of their religion, she said.
She added that Firdaus Amasa’s issue has actually made it abundantly clear that the Nigeria nation is not serious about the Girl-child education and giving equal opportunity to all citizens. It is telling us that education is not to get to those who chose to be Muslims and express their being so”.
She urged the Supreme Court to expedite action on Lagos State Government appeal against the ruling of Appeal court in support of the constitutionality of wearing of hijab in schools. “When laws are broken, punitive measures must be meted out to defaulters, if not anarchy will persist”.
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