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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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!

winston msowoya
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… Read more »

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!


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

Peter Nkosi
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… Read more »

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


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.

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.… Read more »
Afande Chi

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.


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!


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.

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