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Asian community faults Immigration

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Rafiq Hajat

The Asian community has spelt out grievances to the country’s immigration officials, regarding their alleged conduct while storming into homes of Asians living in Malawi.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services has been engaging in a nationwide sweeping exercise in an attempt to arrest illegal immigrants.

By May 4, the department, after storming business premises, had arrested at least 130 foreigners, including Build Africa’s Chief Executive Officer Yasin Osman.

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This has irked the Asian Association of Malawi, which has particularly faulted the department for allegedly not following both Malawi and Islamic law during their search on illegal immigrants.

Among the grievances, expressed in a statement by the association’s chairperson Rafiq Hajat, is that immigration officials— who were accompanied by Malawi Defence Force and Malawi Police Service personnel and were allegedly equipped with large hammers and crowbars— portrayed an aggressive attitude and did not consider the immigrants’ rights.

The statement further accuses the officials of portraying cultural-and-religious-insensitive traits as they walked into homes of residents in area 2, during the night of May 9, and insisting that Muslim women remove their hijabs for the officials to see their faces.

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“This is strictly forbidden according to the beliefs of conservative Muslims,” Hajat says.

However, Immigration Department spokesperson Joseph Chauwa said the department was mandated by the current Immigration Act; as such, it is the plea of Immigration to Malawians or Malawi residents to first bring complaints against the department or its officers to the attention of the offices so that necessary inquiries can be instituted.

Refuting claims of illegal means of invading residents’ homes, Chauwa said the department conducts its operations within the limits immigration law.

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