Will Buhari ban the veil?

By Editorial Board - 1 January 2016 at 2:14 pm
Will Buhari ban the veil?

AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File

Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president stated on Wednesday during the country’s presidential media chat, that a ban on the hijab could be implemented due to the threat of Boko Haram.

Female suicide bombers have been known to use their hijab to conceal bombs.

“Hijab would have to be banned if suicide bombing continues,” Buhari said during the meeting.

“I was in Chad and the ban is one of the measures they have adopted.

“We will have to take that option here in Nigeria if these senseless bombings go on,” the president stated.

On Thursday, The Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) Executive Chairman Disu Kamor stated that religious profiling will not prevent terrorism in the country and that the measure would prevent women from carrying out their religious duties, reported the Daily Trust.

“The purported rationale for the call to ban hijab is that once the hijab is banned, the suicide bombers will be easy to detect, or unable to conceal their weapons. If the hijab is banned and the sporadic bombing continues, what will be the next extreme measure to put on the table? Perhaps shaving the beard and spying on the Muslims? Eventually, some will start to call for the Muslims to be interned as they, the Muslims, only fit the stereotype of suicide bombers. This is the slippery slope that the wishy-washy campaign to ban the hijab will set us on,” Kamor said.

Nigeria is not the only country to consider banning the veil. In many areas around the world religious symbols and face coverings in public areas including schools and government buildings have been prohibited. In 2011 France banned the use of coverings that conceal a person’s identity in public which includes the hijab and the burqa. In the same year, Belgium implemented a similar law. The two countries claim the ban is not aimed at veiled women but has been employed for security reasons as well as to enable social integration. However, some Belgium MPs stated that the veil is a tool of “oppression” against women.

Buhari is siting security reasons for the ban following Chad’s decision to ban the veil in June last year after two suicide bombings took place, killing more than 20 people. The Chadian government accused Boko Haram of carrying out the attacks, stating that veils were used to “camouflage” the bombs.

Editorial Board

Editorial Board

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