Concord Times (Freetown)

6 June 2011

Sierra Leone: Islamic Women Determined to Fight Discrimination

Freetown — Members of the newly formed Sisters of Deenul Islam (SOD) have expressed their determination to bring to an end the discrimination faced by women wearing head scarves (Hijab).

The increase discrimination against women with head scarves (Hijab) on their heads in the country has become a great concern to Islamic authorities and women themselves. The organization's president, Mariam Kamara told Concord Times that they often face serious discrimination from the public because of their Islamic dress code.

"Most times people frown and embarrass us in public simply because of the way we dress. Some Islamic women with head scarves have lost their jobs because of their dress code, which I think is not good," she said.

SOD's education officer, Amina Bawoh said the organization was set up to encourage Islamic women to cherish their religion, more especially when they are trying to acquire western education, adding, "Our motto - 'Restore Islamic Pride' - focuses on Islamic values."

"Women in Islam should not forget their dress code and what Allah says about their dress code in society. We want to promote peace, unity and a forum of understanding among the universities and colleges in the country. It is our right to be educated, but we should not forget our religion," she stressed.

Bawoh noted that eradicating discrimination against women wearing head scarves (Hijab) would go a long way for the country, especially when religious tolerance is being enjoyed.

"Head scarf is a dress Allah asked us to put on as Muslim women. I feel good when I dress in such a way and I will do all I can to keep my pride and the respect I have in the society so that people will not look at me differently," she maintained.

Currently, SOD has over 20 members who are in universities. The organization has lined up many activities including radio programmes to preach against discrimination of Islamic women.

SOD has also received a lot of commendation from various groups and women right activists.

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