The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), Synod of Livingstonia, has said it will not allow learners to wear hijabs in all its institutions despite a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Christians and Muslims on Thursday to allow tolerance on the same.
Last month, Muslim communities in Machinga recently issued a 21-day ultimatum against Mpiri Catholic Parish, demanding that the church should vacate the ‘Muslim territory’ for denying female Muslim faith learners their right to education while putting on a hijab—a gear covering the head and the neck worn by Muslim women and girls in public places.
The MOU, which has been facilitated by Public Affairs Committee (PAC), has been signed by Thomas Msusa of Episcopal Conference of Malawi, Rt. Rev. Fanuel Magangani of Malawi Council of Churches, Sheikh Ali Kennedy of Muslim Association of Malawi, and Sheikh Jaafar Kawinga of Qadria Muslim Association of Malawi.
But General Secretary of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, Reverend William Tembo, said they would not bow down to the MoU.
“The synod will not allow learners to wear hijab in schools run by the synod,” Tembo told Voice of Livingstonia (VOL) radio on Thursday.
He said that much as they were barring the wearing of the Islamic hijab in their institutions as directed by PAC, the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia “does not bar Muslim students from accessing education from their schools so long they observe the Synod’s guidelines.”
During the MoU signing ceremony at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre, witnessed by Minister of Education, Agnes Nyalonje, National Unity Minister Timothy Mtambo, UN Senior Human Rights Advisor to Malawi, Sabina Lauber and Civil Society representatives, Christian-owned schools will allow female Muslim learners to wear hijabs in school as long as they matched with the school uniform.
According to the MoU seen by Nyasa Times, it was recommended by members that the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) should also deal with concerns of Rastafarians, Bible Believers and other concerned faith groups.
Some of the recommendations which were presented by Father Henry Saindi – Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) secretary general – state that:
1.The state shall ensure that all girls go to school and are not discriminated against on the basis of religion.
2. Muslim girls shall not be discriminated against on the ground of education.
3. Christian schools shall allow Muslim girls to wear hijab which matches with the colour of the school uniform.
4. No person shall force Muslims to wear hijab.
5. The wearing of hijab shall not deter Muslim girls from taking part in school activities.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :