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Muslim women advocate better protection for girls wearing hijab

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Barely seven months after Supreme Court ruled in favour of women and schoolchildren that chose to wear hijab, Muslim women have raised concerns over harassment and other ill-treatment currently still being experienced by girls and women in Lagos State and other parts of the country.

The Muslim women under the umbrella, Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, said that rather than Muslim girls and women receiving desired respect after the apex court ruled in their favour to wear hijab anywhere across the country, they were still been harassed in schools and workplaces.

Raising concerns during the 2023 World Hijab Day celebration in Ikeja, Lagos state capital, with the theme: Progression, not Oppression, they advocated zero tolerance for discrimination as well as harassment and seek better protection in the society.

Speaking on behalf of the women, the Executive Director, Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, Mutiat Orolu-Balogun, stated that inspite of the judgement obtained at the apex court, there were still numerous issues faced by Hijabis which required that they be protected in the country.

On part of the challenges facing women using hijab, the Senior Admin Officer, Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC), Fatimah Sanni, explained that girls and women using hijab were being discriminated against through compelling them to either take off their hijabs completely or bare their ears when they require their biometrics taken even for a sim card registration.

According to her, we urge all Nigerians to contribute to ridding 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.

Also, the Naibatul Amirah, Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) Lagos branch, Bushrah Olagunju-Matemilola, added that the advocacy to ensure that anyone wearing hijab is accorded all rights remain an issue that required everyone’s contribution.

“Some school administrators still take laws into their hands by making learning unbearable for Muslim students and denying their fundamental rights. 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 was given based on it”.

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