Muslims applaud Malawi President Joyce Banda


By Peter Chipanga   2 July 2012

Muslims in Malawi have commended the country’s leadership for officially allowing the Muslim women to be putting on an Islamic dress, Hijaab, without restrictions or fear of any form of oppression. The Muslim community have said the sentiments in a press release that has been signed by the National Coordinator for Islamic Information Bureau (IIB), Sheik Dinala Chabulika. ”The direction taken by the Head of State is quite commendable at all cost to the Muslim community and to any thinking member of the Malawi society. “The President has demonstrated that good leadership is all about inclusiveness as opposed to be exclusive,” Sheik Dinala Chabulika observes.

And in line with that, the Islamic Information Bureau is encouraging the Muslim community to freely put on the Hijaab even in public and other official places, as it is their fundamental right to protect their dignity. Says the National Cordinator: “The IIB wishes to appeal to all Muslim women and their families to take the President’s enabling leadership positively and the remarks made by the Head of State act as a step towards the protection and strengthening their faith.”

The IIB which is an arm of the Muslim Association of Malawi says it is also pleasing to note that President Joyce Banda is also championing girl-child education which is in consistent with the teachings of the Islam where education is not only a right but also an obligation. “The IIB would like to echo the President’s views in encouraging the Muslim community to send their children to school in order for them to have a better future,” reads the statement in part.

Recently, the Muslim Women Organization (MWO) sought an audience with the Malawi leader at Sanjika palace where the organization asked the President to intervene in issues of dressing for working class and school going Muslims because they are at times subjected to rebuke and face other hurdles when they put on their religious attire. MWO chairperson Fatima Ndaila said: ”It is stumbling block for Muslim women as they are oppressed because of our mode of dressing….when we dress like this… cover our heads with the Hijaab…. ”We are turned back. This disturbs us and we ask that your government helps us so that we are allowed to dress as our religion commands us to.”

Mrs. Joyce Banda explained that as long as she is the President of Malawi, she will not allow any form of discrimination, let alone of women. Not long ago Muslim women practicing in the country’s health sector were also allowed to be putting on uniform that is related to the Islamic dress. “The dressing code for Muslim Nurses and Midwives in Malawi has been approved as requested by the Muslim Commission for Social Justice. “The Muslim female Nurses and Midwives can now be putting the head gear and other related dressing in uniform colors,” the Nurses and Midwives Council in Malawi announced.

Although the Malawi President is a Christian she allowed the Muslim Women Organization to be the first faith-based grouping in her country to have an audience with her. Mrs. Joyce Banda ascended to the Malawi Presidency on April 7 2012 after the demise of Professor Bingu wa Mutharika on April 5. During the audience, the President encouraged the Muslim women to fully participate in various sectors of development and the importance of education, especially the girl-child education.


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