World Hijab Day: Muslim Women Groups Seek End To Bullying, Discrimination Against Hijabites
February 1, 2023
The coalition of Muslim Organisations have called for equal rights between the hijab-wearing female Muslim folks and non-Muslim folks in the country.
The movement which is observed in 190 countries around the world, is a united voice against the criminalization, discrimination and oppression of Muslim Women due to the practice and observance of their religious codes.
The group during a press conference to commemorate the World Hijab Day 2023, advocated the upholding of the Muslim girl’s right to use the hijab without oppression, segregation, and dehumanization.
Speaking on this year’s theme, “Progression, not Oppression” the coalition asked for recognition of the right of the Muslim girl and woman to use the hijab without any form of intimidation.
They called for a collective effort to progress hijab-wearing and not to oppress their choice of using the hijab.
The Coordinator of Hijab Right Advocacy, Hajia Mutiat Orolu-Balogun led other coalition of 17 Muslim organisations to the Lagos State Secretariat Mosque, Alausa Ikeja on Wednesday to tell the world that the right of female Muslims should be recognised and respected as living beings and not discriminated against.
Mrs. Orolu-Balogun who lead the coalition said; “some have claimed that the hijab is a symbol of oppression and segregation. Rather, it is unjust and unconstitutional laws, bigoted administrative rules, and outright discrimination that oppress Muslim women and girls. We are inundated daily with reports of various Muslim women, young and old, across various cities, states, and countries being harassed, subjugated, and discriminated against due to the hijab, this must be stopped.”
Also speaking at the press briefing, Secretary of the Women wing of Lagos Zone 2 of NASFAT, Hajia Aisha Busari decried the moral decadence in the society as she urged collective effort to uphold the right moral values in the lives of the children in society.
Speaking on the topic, Stop Bullying Hijabis! Religious Tolerance is a Must for Peaceful Co-existence in the Society– NASFAT Women Affairs Secretary Lagos Zone 2 Alhaja Aishat Busari, called on movers and shakers of the world to live by their sayings and preaching of Peaceful Coexistence, a significant part of the SDGs.
It is disheartening to know how much the society applauds immorality and frowns at right choices. How women empowerment is preached, yet the empowerment and choice of Muslim women is opposed. In this World, where the urge to go naked is prevalent, let’s join hands together, Schoolteachers/administrators, leaders of Faith, and every one to encourage modesty, the use of HIJAB.
‘For so many years, NASFAT (together with UNICEF, TOSTAN, among others) have been organizing programmes and campaigns in place to end gender-based violence and all forms of discrimination against women and girls.
Naibatul Amirah, MSSN Lagos Bushrah Olagunju-Matemilola, commended the appointment of a hijabi Dr Shareefah Adejoke Yusuf as the Tutor-General/ Permanent Secretary, Education District VI by the Lagos State government, describing it as an affirmation that the hijab is not a limiting factor to the success of any individual.
“We jubilated when the Supreme Court after a legal tussle of about 10 years granted us victory in the case over use of hijab in schools.
The Court affirmed the right of schoolgirls to dress modestly in hijab and the subsequent Lagos State issued circular confirms this.
“However, it is disheartening we are back at the table with the issues staring us in the face.”
Some school administrators still take laws into their hands by making learning unbearable for Muslim students and denying their fundamental right. And in many cases, they want the hijab hidden away, by insisting that the Hijab be tucked in and a beret worn over it!. The Hijab is not a shirt that should be tucked in , the type of hijab which covers the chest of the wearer, was brought to the courts and judgment given based on it,” she lamented.
Senior Admin Officer, Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC), Fatimah Sanni who described the discrimination against women in hijab as Is Islamophobia called the sensibilities of all government agencies to the plight of Muslim women when seeking government services particularly the taking of biometrics.
According to her, Section 2 of the National Biometric Standards regulation under the National Identity Management Commission Act 2007, mandates all biometric operators whether public or private Organisations to conform with these standards. This said law recognizes the use of the Hijab in its schedule there to and does not require the ears to be brought out of the hijab.
“Yet we get numerous verified reports of Hijabis being compelled to either take off their hijabs completely or bare their ears when they require their biometrics taken even for a sim card registration! These operators have displayed crass ignorance and bigotry as it is expected that they, more than the ordinary citizen should know the regulations pertaining to the services they render.
“We urge all Nigerians to contribute to rid our society of hatred, discrimination and bigotry. In a society where the values of equality, fairness, diversity and inclusion are promoted, everyone is a winner.
Assistant Welfare Secretary, The CRITERION, Lagos District, Modinat Braimah, stated that the hijab marks the wearer as honorable, respectable, chaste and modest with expected high level of morals.
“The Muslim woman dressing does not oppress Muslim women or any other woman for that matter as the media wants to portray it. It is not a political tool or a fashion statement. It is the dignity of the human person of a Muslim woman as guaranteed by the constitution of our dear country Nigeria.
Ameerah FOMWAN Lagos State, Alhaja Sherifat Ajagbe who condemned the raping of sisters in Niqob in Ibadan, Oyo state expressed sadness that Muslim women who are known to be modest have become targets of criminal elements.
The group called for the arrest and urgent prosecution of perpetuator of the heinous crime, Idris A.K.A Kesari and his father.
Assistant Secretary, Izharul – Haq Movement of Nigeria Toyyibah Ajani Abdul Quadri who lamented the harassments faced by hijab wearing Muslim students during exams registration, called on all exam bodies to do more in protecting the accuracy and integrity of their registration process and ensure that no laws are broken by their agents.
Ameerah, Al-Mu’minaat (The Believing Women) Organisation, Lagos State Bushrah Jubril-Adeagbo urged all females (daughters/wives/mothers), to live as agents of change, agents of growth as they are all raisers of the next generation.
“We are to protect that girl child whom Allah has bestowed us with as much as we protect the male child. There is a growing trend of insecurity all over, but the most worrisome is the situation of the girl child. This is because the girl child is the most vulnerable of the human species. It is therefore very important that we do all we can, to protect her. Every little girl you see out there is a prospective wife, and a future mother. So, inside that little body resides the future of humanity. Let us make the world safer for her; it is also for us all.
“Mothers especially must not forget their roles in the area of reformation. Let us not subject our children to inhumane treatment in the name of correction/reformation. We should hold the bull by the horn and educate our children (irrespective of the sex) spiritually, morally, academically, physically and socially so that we can all do the collective work of making the world a safer haven.
“We call on us all to join hands with the government to make Nigeria a safer place to live in, to stop all forms of vices and gender based violence, ritual killings, rape, and fraud. We should also engage in intentional Parenthood and mentoring the younger ones in order to live in a peaceful and better society.
“We further urge the government across all levels should stop paying lips service to protection and rights of all citizenry and further ensure the rights of female Muslims are always protected.
“As this is an election year, we will want all political aspirants at all levels not to heat up the polity, they should be objective and ensure that their campaigns are issue based, never toy with the rights of all individuals in the same vein all law enforcement agencies/parastatal should live up to expectation and always respond to security challenges as they arise and never be prejudiced such that the nation will not be plunged into a state of anarchy.
While not forgetting our brethren across the globe, who are facing various challenges from Gaza in Palestine to Uighur in China, Kashmir in India, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Syria amongst others. We call on the United Nations (UN) not to look the other way but live up to their responsibilities in honesty and fairness.
Allahuma ursuna muslimina wal mujahideena fi Palestine wa fi kul makan. Ameen,” she prayed.
The coalition includes; Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria Lagos state Area Unit, Nasrul-Lahi-L-Fatih Society (NASFAT), Al Muminaat: The Believing Women Organisation, Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN Lagos), Muslim Public Affairs Centre ( MPAC), Guild of Muslim Professionals ( GMP), Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Pristine Cactus Foundation, The Criterion, International Muslim Women Union (IMWU), Pure Heart Islamic Foundation (PHF Lagos), Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria, Islamic Medical association of Nigeria ( IMAN), Akhawat, Izarul Haq Movement of Nigeria, Lagos Secretariat Community Central Mosque ( LSCCM) and An-Nujabau Female Forum.