Muslim Sisters Youth Organisation (Musyo) has decried tendencies by some education institutions in the country to prohibit Muslim girls from wearing the hijab, a veil.
Speaking in Mzuzu on Thursday at the opening of a three-day youth camp, Musyo chairperson Mainatu Milambe said the practices are a violation of human rights since everyone has the right to freedom of religion and dressing as provided in the Constitution.
Milambe, however, said most public and mission schools stop Muslim girls from attending school in a hijab which has contributed to a lot of dropouts cases.
“A hijab is very important to us because the Qur’an commands us not to expose our bodies. To stop us from this is a violation of our rights to religion and dressing,” she said.
Milambe said the organisation has engaged authorities in the Muslim community to take up the matter with government.
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology(MoEST) spokesperson Rebecca Phwitiko said with decentralisation, every education institution has its own rules and regulations that prescribe behaviour as well as dress code.
“The ministry is mindful of the prevalence of freedom of worship in the country and that students from various religious groups, denominations and sects come to school. However, a school, just like any institution ,has rules and regulations that prescribe behaviour as well as dress code. Of paramount importance, however, is that the school must provide a conducive environment for all students to excel,” she said.
The Rastafari community has also been demanding that their children attend classes in dreadlocks. However the Education Act of 2013 is silent on the issues, which has prompted MoEST to hold consultations, according to a senior official in the ministry. n