Malawi Muslim women cleared on headgear

Amid frustration by Malawi Muslim women on the removal of headgear when processing driver’s licence, Department of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) has disclosed that an agreement has been reached that will see Muslim women not completely removing headgear.

According to a statement issued by DRTSS, its management and Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) had serious talks that helped to come up with a concrete decision on the matter.

Malawi women could wear hijab in driving licenses images.

“Muslim women may not be required to remove the headgear entirely but they should at least expose necessary facial features for facial recognition,” reads the statement.

DTRSS has further elaborated that all procedures undertaken by the department in processing every document are governed by the Road Traffic Act 1997 and Road Traffic Regulations 2000.

According to Regulation 8 a (iv & v) of the Road Traffic (Driving Licences) Regulations 2000, every applicant’s photograph must depict only the head and shoulders, and show the applicants full face without headgear.

“It is in this respect that clients who wish to have their images captured at DRTSS offices are requested to remove their headgear in order for the system to capture necessary features for facial recognition,” reads the statement.

DRTSS has in the statement assured all Muslim women and the general public professionally that it will be assisting everyone accordingly.

“DRTSS would, therefore, like to assure all Muslim women and the entire general public that it will endeavour to execute its roles and mandates in line with the legal framework and professionally without necessarily discriminating, victimising or marginalising anybody on the basis of creed, tribe, colour or social economic status,” says DRTSS through the statement.

Muslim women in the country have been expressing concerns for always being ordered to completely remove headgear at DRTSS offices whenever they want to process driver’s licence and other documents.

According to Islamic beliefs, a Muslim woman is only supposed to show off his face to her close relatives and husband but doing that to other people is unlawful.