Malawi Muslims hold demo over ‘Hijab’ women dancers at political rallies

Muslims in lakeshore eastern district of Mangochi on Friday held a peaceful demonstration and presented a petition to the District Commissioner (DC), demanding an immediate stop to the use of Muslim women as dancers at political rallies.

The petition was received on behalf of the DC by Director of finance for Mangochi District Council, Daveson Matola.

There have been a chorus of concerns from Muslim groups over emergence of Muslim women dressed in hijab and performing “zikiri” at political campaign rallies of President Joyce Banda and her People’s Party.

Muslim women in Hijab wears ruling PP cloths
Muslim women in Hijab wears ruling PP cloths

Some Muslims argue that the practice is violating the tenets of Islam.

In the petition, the concerned Muslims, operating under the banner of Mangochi Islamic Movement, are also pushing for the resignation of Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) chairperson Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad who they accuse of taking advantage of the position to advance his personal agenda.

Presenting the petition, secretary of the concerned Muslims, Kassim Kasinde, said Islam is a peaceful religion whose teachings need to be respected.

Kasinde cited the dress code for women as one of the core principles of Islam that should not be tampered with.

“The Mangochi Islamic Movement is concerned by the tendency of some political parties, particularly the People’s Party, who are taking Muslim women dressed in Islamic attire (hijab) to dance at political rallies using songs and other Islamic holy words such as Taqbeer(proclaiming greatness of Allah),” he said.

“Muslims have been complaining since last year, but the practice has not stopped because PP is taking advantage of our poverty to continue using Muslim women as dancers at political rallies,” he said.

Another Muslim grouping called the Islamic Concern of Malawi has condemned the Muslim Association of Malawi for allowing the Muslim women to be “abused”.

The group’s vice-chairperson Yusuf Sambo said they expected MAM to come forward to condemn the act.

“We have been expecting MAM to come forward in the media and clear the air concerning the issue of Muslim women dancing at political rallies, but sadly it hasn’t and it has left us thinking that maybe there is some sort of relationship between the leadership of MAM and the political party in question,” said Sambo at a news conference.

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