Muslims tell Malawi Pres. Banda they are being discriminated against

President Dr. Joyce Banda has deplored the tendency by some schools alleged to be denying Muslim learners opportunity to go for prayers on Fridays.

Banda who officially opened this year’s Muslim Women Ijithima conference at Lunzu in Blantyre on Saturday said it did not make sense that children should be refused to attend a Mosque to worship Allah.

“It does not make sense that children should be refused to go for worship at lunch hour when the teachers themselves are not in class as well,” Banda said.

President Banda was responding to assertions made by the Muslim Women Organization Chairperson, Asiyatu Lipenga who claimed Muslim scholars were in some schools being discriminated against on the basis of their religion.

President Dr.Joyce Banda addressinng Muslim women during the official opening of the 9 th IJITHIMA (Women gathering)  at Lunzu in Blantyre.Picture by Francis Mphweya-MANA.

President Dr.Joyce Banda addressinng Muslim women during the official opening of the 9 th IJITHIMA (Women gathering) at Lunzu in Blantyre.Picture by Francis Mphweya-MANA.

Lipenga said it was unfortunate that in some schools, Muslim pupils were being denied freedom to go to the mosque on Fridays.

“We wonder why the teachers would refuse our children to worship when the Mosque prayers are at noon, the time when teachers are on break,” Lipenga said.

Lipenga further complained that a number of Muslim students who did well in last year’s Malawi School Certificate of Education Examinations were not selected to go to the University.

“We as Muslim women are concerned. Of the thousands Muslim children who qualified to go to the University of Malawi (Unima), only twenty-five have been offered places,” bemoaned Lipenga.

She said she knows of a girl with fifteen points who has been left out when the organisation is promoting girls’ education.

Lipenga who also touched on dressing claimed Muslims’ freedom of dressing in schools was not being respected at a time when every citizen was enjoying the same.

“When our girls put on Muslim gear, they are not allowed in class. Even during prep time,” complained Lipenga.

Lipenga however, lauded Banda’s administration for considering Muslim women into her cabinet citing Halima Daud who is Minister of Environment and Climate Change as an example.

But responding to some of the concerns, the President said government was already looking into the issue of university selection as some areas of the country had similar problems.

“We are looking into that. It’s also the same with the northern region where children with 10 points were left out,” assured Banda.

The Muslim women gathering which is held every year to address women challenges and strengthen their faith was attended by over twelve thousand women from across the country.—Malawi News Agency

Women parading during the function.Picture by Francis Mphweya-MANA.

Women parading during the function.Picture by Francis Mphweya-MANA.

Part of the gathering at Lunzu.Picture by Francis Mphweya-Mana.

Part of the gathering at Lunzu.Picture by Francis Mphweya-Mana.

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