A coalition of Islamic groups has demanded equal right for hijab-wearing women, saying the prejudice against women in veil amounts to denying them their fundamental rights as guaranteed in the Nigerian constitution.
According to the group, women in hijab are being deprived and denied the chance of furthering their education and other things as guaranteed by the constitution. The coalition said that the promotion of girl child education can only be achieved if the girls in hijab are not harassed or molested by their teachers on the basis of hijab usage.
Speaking at the commemoration of the 2020 World Hijab Day, the executive director of Hijab Right Advocacy Initiative, Mutiat Balogun said that it was high time Nigerians stopped needless discrimination against women on the basis of hijab. She noted that women and girls in hijab have proven to the world they were capable and able in all fields of endeavour.
According to Balogun, the discrimination should be urgently addressed She said: “Give this a thought, girl that was forced to remove her hijab in order to write an exam will definitely not perform optimally reducing the chance of getting a further education, despite our claims of promoting the education of the girl child. A researcher screened out of a job placement because of the hijab may be the one in whose mind is trapped the cure for cancer. The Muslim nurse, who had to change her profession because she was not allowed to wear her hijab, may be just the person you need to get you through your hard time in hospital. Denying a person their right not only affects them, but affects us all,” she said.
Balogun, a lawyer also appealed to the Federal Government to ensure that women in hijab are given equal opportunity and not treated unjustly on the basis of their appearance, saying that women in hijab have the capacity to perform excellently in their callings.
“We want to be allowed to carry out our duties and contribute to our society without fear of discrimination or experiencing discrimination. We want our daughters to be able to attend schools, register and write exams in their hijab without intimidation, abuse and discrimination. We want to have equal access to services of regulatory bodies without being asked or expected to first compromise our faith. We want to be given a level playing field like everyone else, not to be denied job interviews, job placements and opportunities because we dress as obligated by our faith,” she said.