Muslim women ask Malawi President to allow Hijab in offices

Muslim Women Organisation (MWO) has asked President Joyce Banda to ensure her government allows Muslim women should be allowed wear an Islamic headscarf, or “hijab” in public offices.

Hijab has been subject of ban in some European countries on security issues but this has raised tension with the Muslim religion.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.

Fatima Ndaila: Let Muslim women put on a hijab freely. Photo courtesy of malawimuslim.com

In a meeting with President Banda at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre, MWO National Chairlady Fatima Ndaila said Muslim women should be allowed to wear hijab headscarf and there should be no discrimination in offices.

President Banda pledged to give Muslim women support and a rightful role to play in her government.

“Let everyone be free to dress as they please because I do not believe that a particular kind of dressing interferes with work performance,” said President Banda.

Recently, Muslim nurses in Malawi were granted the right to take on hijab while on duty.

The Immigration Department authorities also allowed Muslim women to have their passport photos taken with hijab.

Muslim nurses welcomed the move, despite worries of being harassed over their wear.

Islam is the second largest religion in Malawi after Christianity.

Official statistics suggest Muslims constitute 12 percent of the country’s 12 million people, but the umbrella Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) puts the rate at 36.

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