Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) has asked Minister for Civic Education and National Unity Timothy Mtambo to intervene on the hijab issue that has seen some schools banning the Islamic females’ headgear.
The Muslim religious body raised the issue on Saturday in Blantyre when the minister visited them during his familiarisation tour of different religious organisations in the country.
MAM secretary general Alhaji Twaibu Lawe said hijab was a human rights issue; hence, female Muslim girls should be accorded the right to wear it in school.
He said: “The minister has assured us that the issue is being handled by Public Affairs Committee [PAC] in consultation with relevant ministries, religious leaders and authorities.
“We believe the outcome will be positive, looking at the way he handled the billboard issue in Blantyre. He [Mtambo] called PAC, MAM and Evangelical Association of Malawi to a roundtable discussion where the issue was resolved amicably.”
Lawe also said MAM raised another concern that some of their schools were taken by other religious groups.
“The minister advised us to list down such schools for him to see how he will address it,” he said.
The association assured the minister that they work with the government to promote food security, health and education, among others.
On his part, Mtambo commended MAM for supporting government in many initiatives.
He said: “The ministry will develop a memorandum of understanding [MoU] with MAM to work together.
“I was impressed to hear that MAM strives for unity with any religion in the country. MAM also wants to construct a university, secondary and primary schools in the country.”
In March 2019, Ministry of Education wrote head teachers in primary and secondary schools not to turn away children because of their religious affiliations.
However, some schools did not comply with the directive, a development which saw conflicts between community members and some schools.
One of the schools, Mmanga Primary in Balaka, was closed for a month soon after opening in September last year following misunderstandings between the school management, which is owned by the Anglican Church, with community members on hijab issue.
Also in attendance were MAM chairperson Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad and MAM Board chairperson Sheikh Ali Kennedy.