Jos – As the world celebrates the World Hijab Day, the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) cautioned Muslim and non-Muslim women to desist from using the veil as “smoke screen’’ for evil and nefarious activities.
The Amir (Leader) of the association in Plateau, Hajiya Mairo Muhammad,
made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday
She said it was worrisome to know that some women use hijab to prevent security
personnel from checking them at check points, thus carrying harmful devices that
threaten the existence of mankind.
Hijab is a common form of headscarf worn by Muslim women that covers the head and neck but leaves the face clear.
The Arabic word hijab, however, refers not just to headscarf but to modest dress
and behaviour in general.
The FOMWAN leader said “as Muslim women, we are supposed to be law abiding and practice Islam according to the tenets of the religion, submit ourselves for scrutiny at security check points to forestall circumstances that threaten lives.
“It has been brought to our notice that cheating materials in schools are also being hidden using hijabs, this is not Islamic and should be stopped immediately.
“Evil perpetrators are giving wrong impression about the use of hijab, which may lead to more discrimination of Muslim women wearing the veil in the society.’’
She then urged Federal Government to give legal backing to the use of the veil by Muslim and non-Muslim women alike, stressing that the freedom to practice one’s religion should be all-encompassing.
Muslim women who genuinely want to wear hijab should be free to do so without harassment or molestation and should be seen and respected as any other woman, she added.
She explained that the World Hijab Day was to show the public that wearing the hijab was a way of life for the Muslims out of their choice and respect for the religion.
It was celebrated to foster religious tolerance among all religions and to correct the wrong impression that wearing the veil was a symbol of oppression and segregation, she said.
The World Hijab Day is an annual event founded in 2013 by Nazma Khan, a Muslim woman who moved from Bangladesh to New York at age 11.
Celebrated on Feb. 1 each year in 140 countries worldwide, Khan, the founder of the day said the headscarf was a symbol of her religious belief in beauty through modesty.
She said that the purpose of the day was to raise awareness about modest Muslim dress and to encourage women of all religions and backgrounds to wear and experience the hijab.
Other forms of hijab are the Niqab, Burqa and Chodor.
The Niqab is a head-and-face-covering combination which leaves just a slit for the eyes and goes down as far the woman’s mid-back to cover her hair.
The Burqa covers the whole body from the head to the ground, covering the entire face and eyes,
with just a mesh to see through, while Chador is a body-length outer garment worn mainly by women in Iran, often accompanied by a small headscarf underneath.