The Sunday Mail
THE Muslim community in Zimbabwe has appealed to Government to allow children to attend public schools in religious apparel.
At the recent Muslims Unity Day Presidential Interface in Harare, youth representative Munyaradzi Kuseri said it was within pupils’ constitutional rights to dress according to their religious persuasions.
“We appeal to His Excellency (President Emmerson Mnangagwa), through the Ministries of Education, to allow Muslim children to attend Government schools dressed in our religious dressing.
“Most Muslim children face discrimination in schools and we feel our religious garments will close that discrimination gap.
“If they put on their regalia, it helps them to be respected in terms of their religious choice. It’s important to us for our children to dress that way.”
He pointed out that the Constitution guaranteed freedom of worship and association.
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education gave religious clubs the green light to be functional in schools,” he said. “We appreciate that Zimbabwe is largely a Christian nation but we appeal that the Government considers our plea.”
Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Zimbabwe chair Sheikh Ishmail Duwa also said: “Our children should be allowed to dress according to their religion because they are supposed to cover themselves.
“That’s what we are asking for as long as it does not infringe the laws of the State. This type of dressing also shows ‘ubuntu’ and this can help reduce child abuse.”
Sheikh Duwa added: “Many schools were founded by Christian missionaries and they uphold their values and principles. Muslims should also be recognised just like any other religion.
“The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education (Professor Paul Mavhima) once said minority groups should be acknowledged as equals to prominent ones. Our Mosques around the country are a clear sign that our religion is recognised, therefore, we ask the Government to allow our children dress the Islamic way.”
Vice-President Kembo Mohadi, who was the guest of honour at the interface, said Government would look at the issues raised by the Muslim community
According to Section 58 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, “(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of association, and the right not to assemble or associate with others. (2) No person may be compelled to belong to an association, meeting or gathering.”
“Our children should be allowed to dress according to their religion because they are supposed to cover themselves.”