Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire Bishop Brighton Malasa says the diocese will turn its 55 schools into private institutions if the Muslim community does not withdraw the hijab demand.
The bishop said this during a ground-breaking ceremony for a Saint Luke’s Church project in Balaka.
Said Malasa: “We met as Diocesan Standing Committee yesterday [Saturday] and resolved that if pressure from the hijab task force exerted on our schools [on] the hijab dressing code does not subside, then we will close all our schools [40 primary and 15 secondary schools].
“We have since written government communicating the same because we feel we are being forced to accept the hijab dressing code.”
He said as a church, they are emphasising that all those who want to attend their schools should wear uniforms.
The bishop’s remarks come after a standoff on hijab at Mmanga Primary School in the district refuses to die.
In a separate interview, Muslim Association of Malawi Hijab Task Force spokesperson Abdul-Salaam Fadweck said the task force was formed to fight for the Muslim girls’ right to wear hijab in schools.
He said: “We are not breaking any law by advocating for the hijab dressing code for Muslim girls in schools. If the Anglican Church met and resolved to close their schools, then they are missing the point altogether.
“The task force will only be dissolved if the the hijab dressing code is determined.”
In September last year, community members rioted against the school’s refusal to allow Muslim girls wear the hijab. The protests forced the Anglican Church to close the school for nearly a month.
However, mediation talks to pacify both school management and the Muslim Hijab Task Force have not been successful.