World Hijab Day: Muslim women coalition advocates review of dress code for professionals

The Coalition of Nigeria Muslim Women, on Monday, advocated a general review of dress code in all professions where uniforms or specific designs are used to enable Muslim women in such professions to wear a hijab without discrimination.

The coalition stated this at a press briefing held at Fou’ad Lababidi Islamic Academy, Abuja, to commemorate the 2021 World Hijab Day, with the theme, #Endhijabophobia.

Address the press, a member of the coalition, Barrister Ruqayyah Dindi, said the call became imperative so that Muslim professionals could wear a suitable hijab without any condemnation or denial of their rights.

According to her, Muslim women “are Nigerians and they deserve the right to work and discharge their release religious obligations.”

Dindi declared that hijab was not just a piece of cloth that covered a woman’s head but a symbol of modesty and identity of Muslims.

“It embodies the way a person walks, talks, looks and thinks. It is a basic tenet of the religion of Islam and applies to both men and women in different ways.

“The obligation of hijab is a direct command by our Creator to all believing women in Chapter 24 verse 31 (of the Holy Qur’an). Also in Chapter 33 verse 59.

“Thus this hijab that Muslim woman keeps insisting she must wear is not a matter of which she has an option. As long as she proclaims Islam, then that is a command from the Creator of the heavens and the earth to her. It is indeed our religious obligation,” Dindi stated.

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She lamented that hearing of the case of Muslim students of the University of Ibadan International School seeking the right to wear hijab with their school uniform before the Oyo State High Court has not been concluded almost three years after it was instituted.

According to her, “we all know that justice delayed is justice denied and apparently the essence of justice would have been defeated if those are allowed to graduate without being able to adorn the hijab with their school uniforms.”

She, therefore, appealed to the judiciary to give accelerated hearing to cases involving enforcement of fundamental rights, especially those ones that have to do with the right to adorn the hijab.

While calling on individuals and institutions to support and stand for Muslim women’s right, Dindi called on Muslim women to adorn hijab in its proper form with pride and dignity.

She, however, expressed the hope that “In no distant future we will have a legislative backing for this demand. We hope the law when passed, prescribes a penalty for anyone that disdainfully discriminates, victimises, abuses, denies or oppresses any hijabi such rights, freedom and opportunities that other citizens enjoy.”

Speaking on this year’s theme of the World Hijab Day, which is being celebrated in 140 countries worldwide, including Nigeria, #Endhijabophobia, Dindi stated that it embodied a message of no discrimination, synergy, support, encouragement, cooperation and determination to Muslim women and fellow citizens and government.

“It is a theme that focuses on respect and understanding of people’s values, accepting them for who they ate and the need for positive engagement from relevant stakeholders to understand our common values of freedom, respect and fellowship and discharge their duty as required in an environment of mutual coexistence.

“Our message for our fellow citizens this year is to stop the profiling, stop labelling and embrace this year’s theme ‘Endhijabophobia’. Let our sense of common humanity triumph, let the constitution that binds us prevail, let common sense be as it should be – ‘Together We Stand,” she said.

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World Hijab Day: Muslim women coalition advocates review of dress code for professionals

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