By Samuel Abulude, Lagos
Muslim women groups under the aegis of Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative have cried out over alleged frequent harassment and discrimination of women in hijab, saying these actions are a form of violence against women and capable of truncating the peace and progress of the nation.
Mutilat Orolu- Balogun, coordinator of the coalition which comprised Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria, Guild of Muslim Professionals, Al Muminaat, The Criterion and Muslim Students Society of Nigeria noted that hijab is an inalienable right in the 1999 Constitution, a religious duty and obligation of every Muslim woman in observance of her faith.
Citing a case where the woman is forced to choose between the job or her faith, Balogun added, “Violence against women is wrong in all its forms, whether physical, emotional or psychological. Asking a Muslim woman to remove her hijab is a form of violence against women. It should have no place in a progressive society like ours. Rather than discriminate, we should encourage workplace diversity,” she counseled.
Corroborating her, Abur Raheed Taiwo Abubakar in her presentation of the book: ‘Hijab and the Nigerian Press held in Lagos recently, stated that despite various atrocities reportedly committed under the guise of hijab, including frequent suicide bombings, that claimed many innocent lives in the North, the Buhari government should continue to respect the rights of Muslims to protect their modesty and allow religious freedom.
She stated: “whether in private or government establishment, military, paramilitary units or law enforcement, Muslim women in their hijabs add value. No matter the job, the hijab fits.”
Earlier, MSSN Lagos Area Unit president, Hajia Hafsah Badru, stated that covering one’s head doesn’t mean that person should be looked down upon or underestimated and that women in hijab deserve to enjoy their constitutional right.”