A Muslim group, the Al-Muminaat Organisation, has appealed to national and state legislators to enact appropriate legislation that would guarantee the rights of Muslim women to dress according to their religious belief.
The National Amirah (President) of the organisation, Hajia Nimatullah AbdulQadir, made the appeal at a news briefing on the planned commemoration of the World Hijab Day (WHD) on Tuesday in Lagos.
“We call on government to check the excesses of officials that are perpetrating acts of oppression and injustice against Muslim women.
“We also call on both national and state parliaments to enact appropriate legislation that will guarantee the right of Muslim women to dress according to their religious belief.
“The challenges faced by Muslim women in Nigeria as a result of their desire to wear hijab have continued to leave bitter taste in our mouth, especially when juxtaposed with the unlimited freedom enjoyed by other women.
“Just like a lady is free to exercise her right by dressing the way she likes, a Muslim lady who has chosen to obey Allah in her mode of dressing must be allowed to exercise her right.
“However, Muslim women in Nigeria are on a daily basis subjected to a lot of intimidation, discrimination and harassment for wearing the hijab.
“Even in the case of court’s granted support for constitutionally guaranteed right to wear the hijab, as is the case in Lagos State, the right of Muslim woman to wear hijab is only respected in the breach’’.
On the planned commemoration of the WHD, which was first marked in 2013, the Amirah said it was staged to foster religious tolerance and understanding among all members of the society.
According to AbdulQadir, the WHD, which was brought about by Nazmi Khan, a New York based Bangladeshi woman, has attracted the interest of many Muslims and non-Muslims in more than 100 countries.
In Nigeria, the Amirah expressed deep regret about the havoc wrought on Nigerians and humanity generally by terrorists.
“Al-Muminat is deeply touched by the impact of the havoc wrought on Nigerians and humanity generally by terrorists, who wrongly lay claim to Islam.
“We say authoritatively that Islam is against terrorism and violence.
“Those behind terrorism such as Boko Haram are misguided perverts and they do not represent Islam in any way.
“We appeal to parents, religious leaders, opinion leaders and government to help in guiding and mentoring the youths.
“We pray to Almighty Allah in His infinite Mercy to bring this reign of terrorism in Nigerian and indeed, the whole world to an end’’.
To mark the WHD in Lagos, AbdulQadir said various Muslim women organisations would converged at Maryland on Feb. 1 and process to the Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park in Ojota area.
She said all Muslim and non Muslim women were invited to adorn their hijab and to participate in the one day global event to feel the “fragrance of culture of Islamic dressing”.