Muslim women want hijab-wearing legalized
By: Emmanuel wise Jipoh
Liberian female Muslims have celebrated International Hijab Day under the national theme: unapologetic Hijabi.
February 1st is observed annually as International Hijab Day by female Muslims across the world to highlight the importance of the religious dress code.
The Liberian Muslim Women Network (LMW- NET) in partnership with sister organizations, including Sisters of Sakinnah, Women Organization for Islamic Education and Liberia Quran Academy paraded the streets of Monrovia on Wednesday, February 1, to mark the day.
Galvanizing support for hijab wearers, campaign against its prohibition, and speaking against maltreatment of its wearers in Liberia, the Liberian Muslim Women Network commenced the day with parade of Muslim students from various Islamic schools, including the United Islamic School, the Muslim Congress high school, the Seku I l. Sheriff Jr & Sr. high school, Muslim Students Association of Liberia (NAMSAL) and the Alnoor Islamic. They marched from Central Monrovia (Clay & Benson Streets) intersection to the Monrovia City Hall where the commemoration was held.
Fatima Zahra Abounacar Maiga, Chairperson of the Liberia World Hijab Day Awareness Program, said the celebration is aimed at creating awareness of the use of Hijab by female Muslims in the country, and to address discrimination faced by female Muslims wearing hijab.
She said another objective is to send a message to the government to ensure protection for the rights of Muslim women.
Maiga emphasized that the wearing of Hijab by female Muslims is a commitment and an obligation to Allah, as a sign of purity and an understanding of Islam.
She lamented what she called erroneous perception about the use of Hijab by female Muslims, and stressed a need to educate Muslims on the use of the hijab and its importance.
Delivering the keynote address at the Monrovia City Hall, Montserrado County senatorial hopeful Victoria Torlo Koiquah, who is also a member of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), urged Muslim women to see the wearing of hijab as important to their lives and to demonstrate the outfit as a custom that is paramount to the Islamic religion.
Madam Koiquah noted that Muslim women lead by example and allow non-Muslims to follow, something she said, speaks of their pride and dignity as Muslims.
The senatorial hopeful also encouraged Muslim women and young Muslim girls wearing hijabs not to limit themselves and to break barriers other than just being housewives, sitting in the kitchen.
She said instead, they should excel in every capacity of society by empowering themselves to become prominent leaders, urging Muslim girls wearing the hijabs to continue pursuing their education endeavors.
Also speaking, Madam Mamawah A. Lumeh, (RN) urged the government to see hijab as a symbol of inclusiveness and freedom that should be protected, while calling for enactment of a religious tolerant act that will allow all Muslim girls attending non-Muslim schools in Liberia to wear hijabs.
Assistant Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) Mamensie Fomba Kabba, urged Muslim women to keep demonstrating their resilience and never allow anyone’s opinion to define them.
Minister Kaba reaffirmed government’s commitment to protecting the rights of all religions while lauding the Liberia Muslim Women Network for organizing the world hijab awareness to sensitize the public about the hijab.
In brief remarks, the Religious Advisor on Islamic Affairs to President Weah, Usmane T. Jalloh said wearing hijab has long evoked strong feelings, both within Islam and among non-followers of the religion, and described the celebration as a great significance to the creation of awareness in an effort to promote personal freedom of religious expression and improve cultural understanding.
Mr. Jalloh: “Women in different parts of the world are subject to abuse and discrimination for wearing the hijab, and as such the awareness of the day is essential for every Muslim.”.
Meanwhile, the Liberian Muslim Women Network (LMW- NET), was founded on 27 February 2015 by visionary, innovative hijabees Muslim women, who felt the need to create awareness for hijab as part of Muslim women’s obligation to Allah. Editing by Jonathan Browne