Malawi hijab row: Muslim women complain Road Traffic humiliation

Malawi Muslim women have claimed they were being  refused  driving licence renewal and access other  services at the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services if they are wearing an Islamic headscarf.

Woman wearing a Hijab

Lawyer Yusuf Witness Nthenda has since written a letter to Road Traffic  complaining that two women – Beatrice Maulidi, Ageness Kamoto and Muslim Youth for Action  are concerned with Road Traffic  refusal to serve Muslim women whose face  are covered by a veil.

The complainants said they are “deeply concerned” with the conduct of officers at Road Traffic against Muslims wearing hijab.

“You may wish to know that the Constitution provides  that determination of persons in any form is prohibited and all persons are, under any law, guaranteed equal and effective protection against discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, nationality, ethnic or social origin, disability, property, birth or other status and that personal freedoms and that the dignity of all persons shall be inviolable,” reads the letter in part.

The Muslim women claim they were forced by officers at Road Traffic to remove the hijab in order to process a traffic registration card, saying they  received “instruction from bosses”.

Officers are also reportedly mocking Muslim women in hijab by asking them sarcastic question of “what do you hide in the headgear?”.

Lawyer Nthenda said the letter has been served to the department.

However, officials at the department who spoke to Nyasa Times said Muslim women can come to Road Traffic  wearing a full-face veil but must remove it in order to process traffic registration card or license.

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24 thoughts on “Malawi hijab row: Muslim women complain Road Traffic humiliation”

  1. ky says:

    They say ,they will be many in years to come, but not that will enter heaven! What a confused group! You use the the Bible in your argument but when the Bible says Jesus is son of God you say the Bible is fake!

  2. winston msowoya says:

    In first place,Muslims must thank the so-called achair (BAKILI MULUZI) for opening the gates for you.It has become a concerted strategy for most of the Christian world to reject Muslim asylum seekers due to their violent religious beliefs.If Islam was the first religion in Malawi,why then Christianity is overwhelmingly dominating the country especially in the North.Muslims must obey government’s laws,we are not going to be intimidated by these terrorists and they should bear in mind that Christianity is supreme in Southern Africa and no force will bring us down.Islam is not a religion,but rather a terrorist cult which has destroyed human norms in the world and for your information,you have no room in our CHRISTIAN MALAWI,you can packup and go to Syria, and the Middle East you killers and uncivilised thugs.

  3. ISLAM MOUTHPIECE says:

    U abunaau zinaa(ana achigololooo! if they take photo without hijab then they drive with hijab, how they will know them that is one who took licince. tiana tagalu inu amene adakutayani tamai tanu timasistery ndi tima-bitch-shoppers!

  4. Boma says:

    Saudi Arabia#Mecca being the custodian of Islamic law don’t allow women to drive.
    Musatinyase .Muslims are the
    most annoying and uncivilised people in the world

  5. Peter Nkosi says:

    This article is not accurate, and those commenting to it do not understand what a hijab is. It is a veil covering the hair only, leaving the whole face fully visible. There is no problem in identifying a lady wearing a hijab.

    Perhaps the fuss described in the article is to do with the burka or niqab. From Wikipedia:

    “The burqa (also spelled burka) is a garment that covers the entire body, including the face.

    “The niqab is a term which is often incorrectly used interchangeably with burqa. It properly refers to a garment that covers a woman’s upper body and face, except for her eyes.”

  6. mtete says:

    I have not read anywhere about Road Traffic having problems with other women when processing licences, meaning the Department is comfortable as far as security is concerned

  7. Notorious says:

    Amazing to note ignorant comments here.
    1. The department of road traffic’s refulations do not prohibit the wearing of the hijab for one to access service. IT IS SOME OVERZEALOUS OFFICERS who are either ignorant or arrogant that refuse to offer services because one is wearing a hijab.
    2. Apart from the freedom of religion that Malawi constitution enshrines, we also enjoy freedom of dressing such that these women are free to put on a hijab, and no moron should dictate when they can remove it or wear it.

  8. MYAO says:

    I beg to be schooled on a few things;
    1. Does our clothing ie Hijabs, Dzikolofiya and sporting Dreadlocks etc justify our holiness??
    Dzikolofiya & Hijabs are Arabic traditional clothing that suits their weather and in Malawi we take it
    as Religious fashon!!!
    2. Could it be wrong to take 1 photographs in Hijab another without a Hijab place both on all statutory ID’s as may be required? This could prevent these ladies rom uncovering this ‘Wind cover’ each time their identification has to be auntheticated. They may be compelled to remove the Hijab if the law demands so.
    3. Do these ladies wear hijab in court?
    4. Is our statutory law above or under sectarian legislation?
    Pomaliza chonde tizisiyanisa zoval za fasion ndi zachipembedzo, suvala suit desert!!!

  9. Afande Chi says:

    Zafikapa, amai a Roman Cathoric nawonso tiwaletsa kuvala mipango yawo ija pojambulitsa ku Road traffic’ko. Aliyense asiye kutsatira kavalidwe ka mpingo kapena chipembedzo, tifanane.

    1. Joisi says:

      Do these people understand the term Identity? How can one be identified with the face covered? People are identified by their faces not just eyes. Masistere mukuwanenawo sabisa nkhope. Amangovala duku nkhope n’kumaoneka. Anthu akuba amabisa nkhope n’kumangoonetsa maso okha kuti asadziwike which one cannot identify. More fire Road Traffic. Ngati safuna don’t give them IDs. Malawi is not an Islamic state. Akafuna zawozo apite ku Arabia kwawoko!

  10. mtete says:

    We are talking about security here. What kind of an ID (Identification) is it that hides some of the persons features? Just remove the hijab, get photographed (and lady staff can do this) and put the hijab back on. No fuss.

    What’s to stop one committing a crime while wearing a hijab and subsequently remove it in order to frustrate investigators?

    Zinazi tiziziganiza bwino a Malawi Let’s not copy everything.

  11. Fon Owner's Husband says:

    Moslems your are arrogant, stupid and foolish. You satanists, AntiGod the dark world people evidenced by your moon and star don’t destroy this beautiful and peaceful country by doing bad things and end hiding in your semi musks.
    And that lawyer is wiseless

    1. Muslim for life says:

      For those who are educated, read this:

      http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/06/why-muslims-are-the-worlds-fastest-growing-religious-group/

      Meanwhile, religious switching – which is expected to hinder the growth Christians by an estimated 72 million between 2015 and 2060 – is not expected to have a negative net impact on Muslim population growth.

      And also read this (on the section “Islam”:
      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growth_of_religion

      To all the haters of Islam:

      You can continue to hate Islam if that’s what makes you happier. But from the reality on the ground (basing on the statistics) Islam will continue to grow…and WITH YOU OR WITHOUT YOU it will be the most dominant religion in the world. Who knows, maybe your grandchildren will also be Muslims… Or may be even your own children will be Muslims! Your hatred won’t stop the growth of Islam in anyway. It will only damage your coronary arteries and affect your health. So make a wise choice for your own good. Islam cannot be stopped by anyone’s foul speech. The media have already tried this for the past decades and their efforts have failed miserably. You can label Muslims as ” “evil” or “terrorists” or “chocolate” or whatever you like. It’ll only add to the spread of Islam whether you hate it or not. It’s time to face reality!

  12. YARM says:

    If you do not know anything about my religion, you better shut up you mouth and say nothing else. Malawi is a secular state and if you do not know about history, the oldest religion to be introduced here in Malawi is Islam. So learn to respect the religion of other people. What these road traffic officer are doing is ignorance and should be aware that they are public servants and employed. If they do not want they should resign and start their own business and muslim will not come and distract them there.

    1. Reason says:

      By the way, YARM, do you know that Rastas who cover their heads in that long mpango are asked to remove it at Road Traffic? Do you know that if you were glasses you are also asked to remove them? There is nothing special about removing a hijab. After all, they ask you to choose who should take a picture; usually a fellow woman in that case. Covering your face is not part of your identity. They want your identity.

  13. NEVER ISLAMISED says:

    THERE IS NOTHING HERE MAKING US SCRATCHING THE HEAD. IF THEY DO NOT WANT TO COMPLY WITH REGULATIONS LEAVE.

  14. Fyaaaaakwaaaa says:

    I think zinazi anthu we need to understand about licenses,a license is an ID which really need to bare a full face on the applicant,incase of accident how will you be identified while in a hijab guys,,,,,,,We need school here to understand about the road traffic directorate query here.Have you ever seen someone taking a photo to process a license in a summer hurt or ndoma?aaaaaaaahhhhhh pilizi mvetsetsani zinthuzi achalume.

  15. Guantanamo Bay says:

    Rastaman wants his standard one pupil in dreadlocks. A muslim man wants his fourth wife converted from xtianity to fully comply with muslim code of dress. Two girls (of Boko Haram) in Nigeria detonated themselves in January with bombs hid in hijab at a market place. Malawi Muslims, for certain, are peaceful and do not pose any security threat. But what if Isis, Boko haram, Alshabab, Alqaida, etc, fill the gap of our security lapses?

  16. mphwache wa bingu says:

    Malawian women are just copying anything. This hijub thing is just demeaning to women and should never be tolerated in any public space. Religious beliefs should be manifested in the deeds not clothes. These clothes are nothing before God. What you do is what will save you not the clothes you put on. So stop the nonsense.

  17. wilson says:

    so these people wants to get these traffic ids while in their headscurfs,hell no,not in this country.Do that in mecca and not here,muslim women have to comply with Road traffic regulations,mukufuna kubisa chani.

    1. Concerned citizen says:

      1 Corinthians 11:5, says that “Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.”

      The early Christian women veiled their heads in church and anytime they were in public and Christian women continued to maintain this practice to some degree throughout the centuries until the 19th and 20th centuries when the practice rapidly declined. Today it remains among catholic nuns (maybe it’ll also disappear among them as Christianity continues to be dissolved of all biblical principles and as the modern prophets continue to re-interpret the bible based on what they claim is communication from God).

      Anyway, pitilizani Kutukwana asilamuwo. Maybe your life will be more blessed in that way. In the end, God is the best judge.

  18. Concerned Member says:

    bristone mabichi but is there freedom of religion in your vocabulary*

  19. Harawara says:

    Palibe nkhani apa. Lawyer wasowa choneka angofuna consultation fees basi. How do you expect a woman in full hijab to get snapped and be identified. How can she be identified in case of security investigations. Those are security and safety requirements. Full hijab is not our way of life and religion that is why those woman are mocked. Its strange and anything peculiar attracts attention and wonder. Freedom of worship should not put our security and safety at serious risk
    Countries in Europe are passing laws against full hijab because they have learned bitter lessons about what lies behind the veils. Let us learn from them without experiencing terror.

  20. bristone mabichi says:

    It is high time our nation had a bill on code of dressing; we are at times scared when we access public places like GAME or SHOPRITE because of some attire which is associated with violence. Coming to the issue of hijab, these women must comply with the Road Traffic regulations like anyone else.

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