Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria, FOMWAN, has urged interfaith platforms to end the prejudice and stereotype associated with hijab.
The National Amirah (Leader) of the association, Dr Halima Jibril, made the call in a statement on Monday in commemoration of the World Hijab Day.
The World Hijab Day is celebrated every Feb. 1 in 140 countries worldwide to encourage women of all religions and backgrounds to wear and experience the hijab.
A hijab is a veil worn by most Muslim women in the presence of any male outside of their immediate family, which usually covers the head and chest, and sometimes the face.
The term can refer to any head, face, or body covering worn by Muslim women that conforms to Islamic standards of modesty.
Mr Jibril, therefore, said that the 2021 theme of the day — “#EndHijabophobia strongly seeks to clarify all misunderstanding about the intent and purpose of the hijab.
“FOMWAN calls on all interfaith platforms to collaborate to end the prejudice and stereotyping associated with the hijab among their members by
creating `a live and let live’ environment for all, irrespective of religious belief.
“Hijab is practically harmless to people of other faith as it only seeks to promote the fear of Allah and decency in society.”
She also called for an end to discrimination, harassment, intimidation and exclusiveness on account of wearing of the hijab.
“FOMWAN calls on all Muslims, including those whose rights have been violated to patiently seek redress through legal means since that remains the hope for the common man and woman,’’ she said.
According to her, denial of hijab to school girls will increase the out-of-school children as parents explore the non-formal school system for their girls, translating
to loss of opportunities for Muslim girls to actualise their dreams.
The leader appealed to government to allow for an alternative school uniform for those who needed it as a matter of religious obligation without any harm to the school system and learning.
She also called on the National Assembly to come up with a law against discrimination on those who wear the hijab as means of providing safe places for all women and girls to thrive in the name of equity.
Jibril commended the media for amplifying the voices of Muslim women and children as they demand for their constitutional rights to freedom of religious belief and practice.
“The media remains our allies in setting an agenda for enthroning human rights and equity in a multi-cultural country such as Nigeria,’’ she said.
She reiterated the commitment of the association toward advocating for the rights of Muslim women not only on the hijab, but on their rights to education and inclusiveness in governance.