NOVEMBER 10 — In light of the recent news concerning the banning of headscarves amongst hotel employees , the International Women’s Alliance for Family Institution and Quality Education (Wafiq) sees the hijab ban as discriminatory and unnecessary, while questions the need for such restriction in Malaysia where Muslims make up the majority of its citizens.
Recently, we have been made aware that employees from certain hotels are forbidden to wear the headscarf at work, based on complaints made to the Malaysian Labour Centre of the Union Network International (Uni-MLC). There were also reports on students being advised to remove their headscarves to apply for internship. Wafiq also receives feedback by hotel employees across Malaysia that have faced similar situation where wearing the headscarf at work is disallowed. Some are not even “front-liners” (i.e. those who interact directly with hotel guests) and work “in the background”, but the no-headscarf policy still applies to them.
Given that Muslims comprise of approximately 60per cent of the multi-diverse Malaysian population, banning headscarves shows insensitivity towards the Malaysian culture and religious needs of its people. Many Muslim women choose to adorn the hijab as a fulfilment to the Islamic faith, and can easily be spotted across the country, both in rural and urban areas alike. Companies who choose to commit to such ban show an ill understanding of the above reality. This also reflects poorly on their diversity and equality policy.
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