Muslim women under the umbrella of Uganda Muslim Women’s Vision (UMWV) have petitioned government over the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control Act which requires them to remove their veils before having their pictures taken for National IDs, Driving Permits, Passports and when going through immigration at international border posts.
These contend that unless the act is done away with, their constitutional right to freely practice their religion is grossly violated.
“The dress code is the first aspect of identity and the head dress (veil) is very characteristic and definitive” said Namukwaya Aisha the UMWN Chairperson during a press conference held in Kampala
“For a very long time, we have been suffering immensely and silently with the way we have been forced to remove our veils in public yet they are part and parcel of our religious obligations” Namukwaya told journalists.
The Muslim women dress code is clearly stated in the Holy Quran Verse 33; chapter 59.
Hadijah Namyalo, a Lecturer at the School of Law Makerere University said a petition has been submitted to the Rt. Hon Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda and a copy to the Equal Opportunities Commission over thr matter.
“It should be clearly noted that while veiled, all facial features that identify a person are well displayed, so why are Muslim women forced to unveil? Namyalo wondered.
In the era of modern technologies Namyalo said a person’s true identity can be revealed using biometrics.
She gave the example of countries like USA and UK where Muslims women have their photos for official documents taken with their veils on.
“Our prayer therefore is that government should allow Muslim women in Uganda to keep their veils intact while moving through immigration points and while having their photos taken for official documents like National Identity Cards, Driving Permits and other related procedures” the Muslim Women stated