By Mohamed Simbi Koroma and Abdul Aziz Bah
The First Lady of Sierra Leone Mrs. Fatima Bio has vowed to take stringent measures to end discrimination against women in Hijab at a Peaceful Hijab Advocacy March held at the National Stadium in Freetown.
This Peaceful Advocacy March was organized by Sierra Leone Muslim Women’s Network together with Concern Hijabees as part of the Observation of this year’s World Hijab Day, geared towards awareness raising on discrimination against Muslim hijabis in their workplaces and schools.
Speaking at the Advocacy March, the Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Childrens’ Affairs, Mrs.Baindu Dassama told Sliweb News Reporters that Muslims in Sierra Leone are using the world hijab day to advocate against discrimination and that it is not a protest against the government. She assured of her government’s commitment in tackling the problems faced by muslim women and girls. She added that she has been part of every development to ensure the success of this advocacy, and disclosed that she has never received any sexual assault case by a hijabi since she became the minister of Social Welfare.
In her touching testimony, the Advocay Lead Mrs Amanatu Ajibola Thomas, explain how she was asked by her employer to take off her hijab where she was to be employed as a pharmacist after her graduation from the university, which was why she was very passionate to lead such an advocacy campaign. She that other Muslim women are faced with similar challenges and maintained that the campaign will continue until their demands are met.
A similar March was done in Bo and other places across the country, which attracts Islamic scholars, Government Stakeholders as well as school children, university students, different Islamic organizations and People from all works of life. It is hoped that this will serve as eye opener for people to know that Muslim women in Sierra Leone have a voice and should not be subjected to discrimination as a result of their hijab which is a command from Allah.
Meanwhile,Sheikh Abubakarr Fomba Swarray told Sliweb News Reporters that:”The First Lady’s statement is a policy statement.I consider this as an addendum to her ‘Hands of Our Girls’ Initiative’ So the Hijab makes this Initiative more beautiful,dignified and thorough,and if one sexually penetrates/rapes,he will face the wrath of Allah.Going forward,I want to see the multiplicity,unfolding nature and panoramic dress around the streets of the country.So one can be able to distinguish Muslim girls from others.”
Conclusively,Sheikh Umar Farouk Adam Bah said:”This programme is very encouraging; It’s a turning point for this nation which indicates that young people now are conscious of their religion.It’s Allah who has chosen a prescribed system for us.Allah says”If Allah has created and sustained us until we grow,then we refuse to abide by His prescribed system,He will purnish us,but if we accept we shall benefit a lot.I pray Allah helps the First Lady to succeed in this.”
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