UMWV Petitions to Kadaga Seeking Amendment of the Act

Uganda Muslim Women Vision (UMWV) has petition to speaker of Parliament Rt Hon Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga and Equal opportunity commission seeking support, help to amend “Uganda Citizenship and Immigration control Act” to enabling all Muslim women dress religiously and put on their veils always.
Led by their chairperson, Namukwaya Aisha on Thursday during a media briefing held at hotel Africana Kampala said that, they have been suffering immensely and silently with the way they have been forced to undress in public and remove their veils which is part and parcel of their dress while taking photographs for passports, national identity cards, driving permits and while going through immigration offices at international border posts.
Namukwaya says, Muslim Women dress code requires wearing of all full garments with veils as part of the religious obligations as its clearly stipulated in Quran: 33:59, adding that Muslim women in Uganda are uncomfortable and feel highly opposed to the way they are being harassed by undressing them (forced to remove veils) in a manner that is humiliating.
Nankya Mariam outgoing UMWV chairperson disclosed that, they have decided to rise up and express their grievances to the government of the republic of Uganda seeking redress, and a petition has been submitted to speaker of Parliament of Uganda and a copy to the Equal Opportunity commission with an aim of revisiting this policy which forces Muslim Women in Uganda to remove their veils.
“It should be clearly noted that while veiled, all facial features that identity a person are well displayed; so why are women forced to remove the veils,” she said.
Hadijah Namyalo a lecturer from school of law Makerere university says the veil is part and parcel of the Muslim Women’s dress and forcing them to remove it is not only dehumanizing but also degrades their integrity, adding that the public embarrassment that accompanies undressing in public is causing too much discomfort, rising pressure and tension that may soon or later explode.
“Unless this act is done away, the Muslim women contend that their rights to freely practice their religion is grossly violated,” she said.
Nuru Nambirige legal adviser UMWV says whereas indecency of women has caused enumerable socio-economic problems to the society, all people of good will/should be concerned about protecting the existing descent women, and there are also technological alternative means of identifying a person’s facial features using biometrics and this is already available in Uganda as is also used in other countries.
“In USA and UK, Muslim women take their photos with their veils intact,” she added.
Zaitun Kakyama secretary general UMWV says their prayer therefore is that government should allow Muslim women in Uganda to keep their veils intact while processing their travel documents, National identity cards, Driving permits and other related procedures, as well as while moving through immigration points.
The Uganda Muslim Women Vision was commenced in 1996 with a mandate to protect and promote the socio-economic as well as religious welfare of Muslim women in Uganda. For a practicing Muslim women, the dress code is the first aspect of identity and the head dress, the veil is very characteristic and definitive.

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