Site icon The Times Group Malawi

Bishop Brighton Malasa, government react to religious clashes

UNFORTUNATE—Damaged windows of a Mosque at Mangochi turn-off

Education, Science and Technology Ministry has clarified its stand on wearing of Hijab by Muslim female learners in the country’s public schools, saying the government has taken a non-discrimination approach to allow religious dress code in schools.

This comes barely a day after clashes between some Muslims and Anglican Christians in Balaka District over some schools which were closed due to disagreements over the wearing of the headgear by female Muslim learners.

The schools in question are affiliated to the Anglican Church but were handed over to the government.

In a statement, the ministry’s Principal Secretary, Justin Saidi, says the government appreciates the role faith-based organisations play in construction of schools to foster education in the country.

“[But] generally, there are no conditions attached to the handover of these schools to [the] government. Recently, various faith-based organisations have raised concerns about the dress code in schools. This is an important matter that requires broad consensus by all stakeholders,” the statement, which Saidi has signed for, reads in part.

It says the government intends to place the matter before quasi-religious body, Public Affairs Committee, for stakeholders to consult and advise the government accordingly.

In reaction, Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire Bishop Brighton Malasa, said his church welcomes the government’s stand on the issue.

He, however, said there are some policies which the government needs to respect regarding management of schools which are affiliated to faith-based organisations.

“For instance, we have an agreement that the government should not impose change on some policies without consulting key stakeholders. But as a church, we regret what happened at M’manga because Muslims and Christians have always co-existed in the country,” Malasa said.

During the Monday fracas, Eastern Region Police spokesperson, Joseph Sauka, said three people were injured and five houses damaged.

School and church structures, shops and mosques were also damaged in the fight.

The Constitution of Malawi guarantees freedom of dressing and worship.

Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!
Exit mobile version