Coalition of Muslim Women marks 9th World Hijab Day ,calls for more advocacy

The Coalition of Nigeria Muslim Women has joined their counterparts across the globe to celebrate the 2022 Edition of World Hijab Day .


The Coalition at a press conference held in Abuja on Tuesday said the Hijab Day initiative has achieved significant impact since its creation, but a lot of work and effort still needed to be directed towards creating positive awareness of the hijab, thereby protecting the rights of its user.


The Coalition of Nigerian Muslim Women focused on constructive engagement with all relevant stakeholders and the general Nigerian public.


This stance aimed to drive the simple message that the hijab is the Muslim Woman and she is the hijab. She can participate effectively in all public undertakings with the Hijab.


The Coalition argued that it remained woman’s right to wear Hijab in public as guaranteed by the laws and should be protected by the symbols of authority in all spheres of Life.


“She should therefore not suffer any harm by exercising this right. This is the message we will keep spreading through all available means until it receives clear comprehension and accommodation. We strongly count on your support as messengers, educators and information providers.

The theme of 2022 World Hijab Day is titled ‘’Hijab is our Crown not our crime’’, #DressedNotOppressed.


The Coalition while told the newsmen that Hijab awareness creation is aimed at creating mutual respect among global citizens and disclaiming bigotry and prejudice against Muslim women


“This year, we want to showcase the hijab as a symbol of freedom to follow the human being’s natural Fitrah (disposition) as pre-designed by our creator to live according to his will and purpose. Both men and women are designed by Allah to promote the natural equilibrium on earth as His representatives. Both are therefore expected to showcase decency, modesty and responsibility in actions and appearance. This embodies a message of encouragement, determination and pride in our choice of hearkening to the will of Allah as Muslim women. It also proclaims a desire for human, legal and institutional comprehension and utilization of this for the wellbeing and utmost contributions of all persons showcasing decency and freedom. Only this outlook and focus will ensure the growth and development of our dear nation to enable it to reach its desired potential as anticipated since Nigeria’s independence in 1960.

The Coalition said a lot of gains have been recorded globally in changing the perception of the hijab since Nigeria Muslim Women joined the global crusade.


The Coalition said “We thank Allah (SWT) for this and commend all persons, institutions, groups and governments for their conscientious stand and effort.

“Among these positive outcomes, we have seen the Phillipines House of Representatives approving on second reading a bill seeking to declare the first day of February of every year as National Hijab Day in the Philippines.

“In 2018, the Scottish Parliament hosted a three-day exhibition to mark the World Hijab Day. Also, in Nigeria, the House of Representatives introduced a bill seeking to institutionalise the use of hijab in schools. The bill titled ‘Religious Discrimination (Prohibition, Prevention) Bill, 2021’ is seeking to provide a mechanism for enforcing certain provisions of the Constitution and other international laws that recognise the right of a female to adorn hijab in public and private establishments in Nigeria. Even though some groups rose against this legislation, we call on our fellow brethren regardless of faith to reassess their stance and support all that is good regardless of its proponents. We will continue following up on this bill and we hope to witness its successful passage and implementation”.

The Coalition further siad the gains of the advocacy on Hijab encouraged Muslim women to keep the conversation, the advocacy and the positive portrayal of the hijab going on until all its wearers received the same treatment and recognition in the same way as all citizens of the globe.

“We still have a lot to do because despite the gains, a lot of anti-hijab policies and stances are still prevalent and were witnessed in 2021 as documented below:

Anti-Hijab Sentiment in 2021 (Global):

  1. Germany- September 2021. 24-year-old Shilan Ahmad who is from Syria, arrived to start work at a nursery in Erfurt, wearing a headscarf, she was immediately turned away. This is because about half of the country’s 16 federal states have restrictions of some kind concerning face and head coverings.
  2. France- March 2021-The French Senate voted to outlaw the headscarf for minors in public. It is significant to note that the age to consent to sex in France is 15 years, while the age to consent to hijab is 18 years.
  3. Canada, April 2021- A Canadian judge upheld Quebec province’s ban on wearing religious symbols for public servants such as police and teachers. In December 2021- Due to this law, A Muslim teacher Fatemeh Anvari, an elementary school teacher in Chelsea Elementary School Canada was transferred from her job for wearing a hijab in the classroom. It affects jobs such as teachers, nurses, bus drivers, prison guards and police.
  4. November 2021- An EU-funded anti-discrimination campaign to promote acceptance of the hijab by the Council of Europe, Europe’s top human rights organisation, was cancelled by the Council following outrage in France and across Europe.

In Nigeria, the Coalition has documented following cases of anti-hijab sentiment:

1.March 2021- Christian groups mobilised and barricaded some schools to protest the directive announced by Kwara State Government that all public schools should respect the rights of Muslim students to wear the head covering, if they choose to.

2.November 2021- Federal University of Agriculture in Abeokuta (FUNAAB) Ogun state, placed a ban on the use of hijab and niqab by Muslim female students on campus based on the flimsy reason of wanting to identify each student on campus.

3.December 2021-Noheemat, a Muslim youth corps member posted to Akwa ibom State was harassed and prevented from using hijab by the Camp Officials until Muslim groups and government authorities intervened.

“We therefore still have a lot of work to do. We will continue to push forward and need all the support we can get from citizens, the three arms of government, media, religious leaders, traditional leaders, educational institutions, civil society groups, and all relevant bodies. The Covid-19 pandemic has truly changed the world’s perspectives and methods of virtually everything, including clothing. Now over 50 countries have made wearing the mask mandatory. We wait to see whether the strong objection in some climes, to face coverings by Muslim women will hold water in the near future.

This Coalition also commended members of the media for their supports.

” You have always honoured invitations to attend this event and other activities. You have also provided sufficient and balanced reportage of the Annual World Hijab Day. We pray that you continue to treat all issues that concern the hijab and other aspects of your work with the fear of God and the best interest of all citizens in your hearts”the Coalition said.

The Coalition then called on Hijabis (wearers of hijab), to utilize its cover proudly, in a positive and productive manner so that they are maximally useful and beneficial to themselves and the society.

“It is indeed a source of good not bad. The feeling of utmost freedom, tranquillity and sense of protection the wearer of Hijab experiences, is only known to users of hijab. This negates the view of hijab by non-users as oppressive or inhibiting. Let us blaze the trail in our chosen fields of endeavour and be examples, reference points, not for negativity, but for all that is decent, humane, productive and pro-active. Nothing should hold you back as daughters, sisters, wives, mothers and grandmothers.

“We call on all people, our fellow compatriots, institutions, leaders and those in positions of authority to see our hijab as an enabler not an inhibitor. We are saying ‘’we are ok’’,

‘’we symbolize nothing but good’’, and as in the common parlance that says ‘’dress the way you want to be addressed’’, we plead to the world to ‘’address us the way we are dressed

“They should treat it with respect and understanding, as a tool and a vehicle for inclusiveness, a paved road to reach out to both the most remote and excluded populations of women & children and the nearest and more visible ones.

“We call on our governments at all levels create and provide services that cater to all, including those whose appearance is defined by their belief and obedience to a command from the divine creator. Educational systems that recognize the needs of the hijab conscious parent and hijab-wearing student should be made a priority as the importance of female education for national development cannot be over-emphasized.

“Educating the girl child produces mothers who are educated and will in turn educate their children.

“We call on hospital management boards to be conscious and mindful of this mass segment of Nigerian citizens and resolve to include them when implementing health care programs especially maternal, child care and endemic diseases interventions. The Covid-19 epidemic has re-taught us a valuable lesson that the health situation of one, impacts us all and we are only as protected as the weakest link in the chain of humanity.

“We call on the National Assembly to introduce and pass laws that serve the interest of all citizens and which protect the rights and freedoms of all to education, health, employment, finance, home ownership, careers, etc. regardless of what one wears. We urge you in strong terms, to speedily pass the ‘Religious Discrimination (Prohibition, Prevention) Bill, 2021’ which passed second reading since March 2021, and prevent it from entering the basement of discarded bills. The passage of this one will surely be worthwhile for posterity.

“We call on the Ministry of Education at the federal and state levels to pay attention to unnecessary victimization of students which has become a recurring decimal in our schools and institutions. They should guarantee the sanctity of Nigerian laws of freedom of worship, association and expression for all persons devoid of sentiment. Indeed, redesigning, re-calibrating and refocusing policies, programmes and interventions by institutions and authorities will only result in widespread success and impact. We ask that the Ministry takes a decisive action by issuing and re-issuing circulars to these schools to remind and caution them to protect this right of girls & ladies to wear hijab in schools and Universities.

“We call on the National Youth Service Corps authorities to introduce an optional set of uniform for Muslim female corps members that desire to appear in modest clothing. The current dress kit issued to a corps member; a set of Khaki trouser and jacket, one crested vest, a pair of jungle boot, two pairs of white shorts, two plain white vests, a pair of white canvas shoes, one Fez cap, two pairs of customised socks and a customised belt, needs to be reviewed to recognize the right of Muslim corps members to conform to their values. They should also set up a monitoring mechanism at orientation camps to ensure no corps member is denied the right to protect the sanctity of her beliefs by removing her hijab or being forced to wear items such as short nickers.

“We call on the media, the fourth estate of the realm, the conscience of society, to do your part by carrying forth this message with a positive and responsible outlook. We implore you to champion this advocacy and spread this message. Indeed, you have a huge responsibility, a mighty calling and a great opportunity. Discharge your obligation with the utmost sense of responsibility, do not overcharge emotions. Heed your calling, do not be heedless, for indeed you will all account to the master of the worlds regarding what your pen or keyboard feeds to the world. Allah (SWT) says in the Glorious Qur’an 17:36- ‘’….: your hearing, sight and heart- all will be accounted for [on the Day of Judgment’’. Help our people to appreciate the universal nature of this need for positive advocacy whether or not you share a faith or belief with the advocates. The criteria should only be whether that advocacy serves a just cause for humanity.

The Coaliation also listed series of activities planned for 2022 Edition of World Hijab Day which include;

  1. a) Press briefing & Media interaction- Tuesday, 01/02/22 at 11am
  2. b) Visitations to Radio & TV stations, schools and other relevant organizations and agencies between 1-4 February, 2022
  3. c) Hijab Outreach & Awareness Outing- Amusement Park on Saturday 05/2/2022 at 2pm
  4. d) Public lecture on Saturday, 6th of February titled: “The Hijab as a metaphor for our National Aspirations ‘’. This will be delivered by our erudite scholar, Professor Ishaq

Akintola, MURIC National President on Sunday, 6th February 2022 @ the National Mosque Conference Hall by 9:30 am

The Coalition said it has not changed its focus of constructive engagement with all relevant stakeholders and the general Nigerian public.

“This stance aims to drive the simple message that the hijab is the Muslim Woman and she is the hijab. She can participate effectively in all public undertakings with the Hijab. Her right to wear it in public is guaranteed by our laws and should be protected by the symbols of authority in all spheres of Life. She should therefore not suffer any harm by exercising this right. This is the message we will keep spreading through all available means until it receives clear comprehension and accommodation. We strongly count on your support as messengers, educators and information providers” the Coalition urged.

World Hijab Day ,an initiative of Nazma Khan, was first marked in 2013 across the world, Nigeria inclusive. It’s being celebrated every February 1st of the year Worldwide.

World Hijab Day is a day set aside to create awareness of the Muslim woman’s dress: its position, and what it represents; galvanising support for its wearers, and campaigning against its prohibition, castigation or maltreatment of its wearer.

World Hijab Day is presently marked in 190 countries worldwide. This is the ninth year that the Coalition of Nigeria Muslim Women is implementing activities for the World Hijab Day.

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