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.
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.