Muslims and Christians in the country have signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) which allows female Muslim learners to wear hijabs in public and Christian-owned schools.
The development follows recent ugly scenes where Muslim learners were being chased from Christian-owned schools over wearing of hijabs a development which resulted in violence in some parts of the country and other schools were closed over the matter.
However, female Muslim learners can finally breathe a sigh of relief following the Thursday’s signing of Memorandum of Understanding in Blantyre where the leaders of the two sides have agreed to end the impulse.
Quasi-Religious body along with Public Affairs Committee (PAC) facilitated the signing ceremony which was graced by Minister of Education Agnes Nyalonje and Minister of civic education and national unity Timothy Mtambo and UN Senior Human Rights Advisor to Malawi, Sabina Lauber.
In her remarks, minister Nyalonje said it is pleasing that the two parties have resolved the misunderstanding which she said negatively affected female Muslim learners who were being chased from school.
“The ceremony was extremely important because this was an issue that threatened national unity, it’s an issue that brought to an end the learning for Muslim girls in other schools like Mpiri primary in Mangochi district. Government will make sure that education and religious rights are never violated for every Malawian child.” Said Nyalonje.
In the other hand minister Mtambo who hailed PAC for uniting the Muslims and the Christians, said the development indicates that there is no any other wrangle that can never be resolved amicably.
He said politicians and other groups should learn something from how the issue of wearing hijabs in Christian-owned schools has been handled claiming that’s the way to a united Malawi.
In his remarks, PAC vice chairperson Osman Karim said this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been developed with the spirit of creating a conducive learning environment for Muslim learners in Assisted Christian Schools.
Karim said the MOU also will safeguard proprietorship, nature, mission and values of Assisted Christian Schools and that it will promote the spirit of religious co-existence, conflict prevention and tolerance between different faith groups, particularly the Christians and the Muslims.
“Today is a great day because the two parties have finally agreed that a Muslim girl child shall not be discriminated against on the ground of religion and shall, in addition to other rights, be allowed to dress modestly which include wearing hijab in Assisted Christian Schools,” said Karim.
The recommendation in the MoU also states that female Muslim learners should only be wearing hijabs that matches school uniform and PAC has been ordered to deal with concerns of Rastafarians, Bible Believers and other concerned faith groups.