By Llywellenie Mpasa:
Quasi-religious body Public Affairs Committee (Pac) has facilitated the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which will see schools which Christians own allowing female Muslim learners to wear hijabs in class.
This means the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC) and the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) have no problem with Muslim learners— who were represented by Muslim Association of Malawi (Mam) and Qadria Muslim Association of Malawi (QMAM)— wearing the hijab.
According to terms of the MoU, the arrangement seeks to create a conducive learning environment for Muslim learners in Assisted Christian Schools and promote the spirit of religious co-existence, conflict prevention and tolerance between faith groups.
Speaking on the sidelines of the MoU signing ceremony, Education Minister Agnes NyaLonje said the government was committed to ensuring that all girls go to school and that no girl child is denied access to education services or discriminated against on the ground of religion.
Pac Vice Chairperson Osman Karim said all schools under the Association of Christian Educators in Malawi would ensure that all learners must wear school uniform as determined by the proprietor and that learners are allowed to wear hijabs as long as the colours match those of the school uniform.
The signatories to the MoU include ECM Chairperson the Most Reverend Thomas Luke Msusa, MCC Chairperson Right Reverend Dr Fanuel Emmanuel Magangani, Mam Board of Trustees Chairperson Sheikh Ali Kennedy, QMAM Vice Chairperson Sheikh Jaafar Kawinga and EAM Chairperson Archbishop Dr Mark Kambalazaza.
The ceremony was witnessed by Nyalonje, National Unity Minister Timothy Mtambo, United Nations Senior Human Rights Adviser to Malawi Sabina Lauber and representatives of civil society organisations.