Muslim women protest hijab harassment

Members of the National Amirah of Al-Mu’minaat Organisation, the conveners of the briefing

Some Muslim women have said they face stigmatization and harassment in Hijab in some parts of the country.

The National Amirah of Al-Mu’minaat Organisation, Hajia Nimatullah Abdullateef, stated this at a press conference held in Lagos to herald the forthcoming World Hijab Day.

Hajia Abdullateef said the Muslim women were worried by the way some security operatives harassed women within and outside conflict zones because they wear the hijab, which is a symbol of the Muslim faith.

“Muslim women remembered with painful nostalgia the hopefully isolated incidents of harassment, persecution, emotional and psychological anguish hijabis had suffered in Nigeria in recent time, especially after President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that the nation might consider a ban on hijab if terrorists continue to use women in hijab to bomb innocent Nigerians,” she stressed.

On identity card capturing issues, Abdullateef also expressed dismay at the authorities of the Nigeria Identity Management Commission, (NIMC), Ibadan office to limit the hijab standards of Muslim women in the course of capturing.

She noted that the same issues were being faced at Immigration and Federal Road
Safety offices.

“Other government agencies trying to rob the Muslim hijabis her right to freedom of religious expression, by demanding that she expose her ears during image capturing, are the Nigerian Immigration Service and the Federal Road Safety Commission. We call on the leadership of these agencies to call their men to order.

‘Boko Haram is the enemy’

She affirmed that Boko Haram remained a common enemy that Nigeria must collectively defeat as she stated that the insurgents had not spared hijab wearing muslims.

“I wish to remind the Nigerian security institutions that Boko Haram is the enemy and not Muslim hijabis. And indeed, Boko Haram has used several ingenious garbs and artefacts to camouflage its members and carry out its dastardly and evil attacks, including fruits, vegetables, motor vehicles and even fake army and police uniforms.

In actual fact, several thousands hijabis have been unfortunate victims of Boko Haram attacks, either as deceased victims or living but shattered IDPs and it would amount to double jeopardy if Nigerian security authorities harass and de-robe chaste Muslim women, who they indeed, are supposed to be protecting from our common enemy, Boko Haram,”

She affirmed that, “hijab has been, is and will continue to be, and we implore Nigerian authorities, within and outside government and at all levels, to let hijab be. As we celebrate the World Hijab Day, we implore all lovers of the hijab, Islam and humanity to celebrate the hijab in all and every way they can, especially on social media,”
Abdullateef highlighted.

Abdullateef commended Buhari for dousing tension by stating that hijab would not be banned.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Lagos State, Uzamat Yussuf also decried the frequent stigmatisation of Muslim women in Hijab, saying that they were often regarded as religious fanatics.

Yussuf, said due to such misconceptions, the larger society failed to acknowledge and appreciate Muslim women’s courage in standing up to societal norms in their determination to preserve their modesty and obey the command of God.