Nigeria: Islamic groups vow to resist molestation of women in hijab
NASFAT Women Affairs Secretary, Alhaja Samiat Mumuni (second right) addressing the crowd during a rally organised by Al-Mu’minaat in collaboration with NASFAT and FOMWAN to commemorate World Hijab Day at Freedom Park, Ojota, Lagos… With her (from right) are Al-Mu’minaat Lagos State Amirah Hajia Khadijah Abdus-Salam, Assistant Director, Lagos State Ministry of Education Hajia Bushrah Alli, an Entrepreneur, Alhaja Rashidat Sanni-Olalere, Chief Education Officer, Ministry of Education Alhaja Khadijat Balogun-Ibrahim and FOMWAN Eti-Osa Amirah Alhaja Sadat Afolabi.
By RAZAQ BAMIDELE
Prominent Women Organisations within and outside Lagos State in Nigeria, have moved against discrimination and molestation of women who dress in Islamic flowing head cover, Hijab.
The Organisations led by Al-Mu’minaat (The Believing Women) made this known during a rally held to commemorate the 2018 World Hijab Day (WHD) at the Gain Fawehinmi Freedom Park, at the weekend.
Al-Muminaat Lagos State Amirah Hajia Khadijah AbdusSalam said Nigeria as a nation must be fair and just while handling matters affecting Muslim women who choose to appear in Hijab as the organisation will continue to engage with relevant stakeholders to ensure that the right of every Muslim woman who wants to cover is actualised.
She said Muslim women should not be side-lined based on their appearance as she enjoined the government and other private Organisations to employ based on competence and intelligence.
The programme, with the theme: ‘My HIjab! My Right,’ started with a walk on three pathways. The first pathway was from Maryland (SUBEB) to Gani Fawehinmi(Freedom) Park Ojota, the second pathway started from Roundabout bus stop Otto to Cele bus stop Ijanikin both in Lagos State while pathway 3 took off from Joju round about towards Idiroko express way ,down to Iganmode road and back to Joju round about, in Sango-Ota, Ogun State.
The congregation included Al-Mu’minaat (The Believing Women) Organisation, Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Nasrullahil Fatih (NASFAT) and the Muslim Student’s Society of Nigeria (MSSN), and other Muslim Organisations.
Women Leader, Abus-Salam further urged the Nigerian government to caution its agencies and institutions like the immigration service, schools and other parastatals that are not receptive to women in Hijab to stop this act.
She said the walk is an enlightenment campaign to protect women from molestation and discrimination as every woman has the right to choose how she wants to appear in the public. “Some of us have the conviction on Hijab already but no doubt, the enlightenment created last year has further created more awareness by convincing more people about the importance of Hijab which is for identification and respect. Islam is a religion of peace and this reflects even in our mode of greetings and even, dress,” Abdus-Salam stated.
“We are peace loving people and we tell our people to uphold peace in whichever situation they find themselves by handling matters amicably in their various communities,” she added.
“The government is aware of our right and we are waiting for her to comply with the rules and the constitution of Nigeria on the recent case of a law graduating student, Amasa Fridaus who was denied call to bar due to her Hijab. We have sent down referendum on the case and we hope that the government will consider the case as an urgent matter,” the Woman leader stated.
The Women Leader of NASFAT, Samiat Mumuni said the outer garment of a Muslim lady is her pride and an injunction from the Quran which should be respected by all authorities in Nigeria.
She encouraged Muslim women to continue being honest, dedicated, transparent and to be steadfast whenever they are being discriminated against. “Be just, fair and transparent. Always do the right thing and have faith in God that you will be successful in whatever you lay your hands on,” she admonished.
While speaking at the event, the Communication Officer of Al-Muminaat, Alhaja Bushrat Adeagbo said commemorating the World Hijab Day is a way of showing to the world how a Muslim woman should look like.
That a woman appearing in her outer garment, Hijab, is protected under the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria in section 38 subsection 1 of the the document.
“We are peace loving and we ensure that, apart from this type of fora, we engage the federal government at different levels from our headquarters to see that we submit a bill to ensure that the Hijab of a Muslim lady is not looked down upon.
“We participated at all levels to ensure that the right of a Muslim woman is not being infringed upon. We have our centers where we train Muslim women. We also have vocational centers where we help women generally to learn different handy works to make them self-reliant and eventually become an entrepreneur. We have Guidance and Counselling sessions where we discuss with people on how to live happily in their homes.
“Islam means peace, peace with yourself, your neighbour and with God. If you don’t have peace with fellow citizens, you can’t have peace with God. An average Al-Muminaat member knows that peace is the watchword, not violence, it is dialogue and encouragement. They all know that they are representing Islam as a whole and they won’t do anything to tarnish the image,” she said.
A pharmacist, who is also a member of the Believing Women group, Afusat Adeshina said the walk was a means of creating awareness that Hijab doesn’t prevent women from attaining great heights in their various professions.
“It is not a choice but an injunction by Allah just as the five daily prayers is an injunction which cannot be handled with levity.
“Women should be free to use their Hijab in the work place as it is their human right. We are Nigerians and we should neither be oppressed nor molested when we are serving our Lord through our mode of dressing. It is our right, our choice and our religion.”
She said “Islam and Hijab are far from terrorism and a lady in Hijab knows the reason behind her clothing. The terrorists know themselves. Government should put security gadgets in open spaces to detect criminals. We are Hijàbis and we are not in any way linked to terrorism.
We are known for honesty and integrity,” she said.
She however called on women in Hijab to adhere to work ethics in their various work places and display their potentials so that the world will truly know that Islam also gives room for professionalism and proficiency.