By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) has spearheaded the recent celebration of the World Hijab Day in different parts of the country, even as it cited the management of branches in Davao City of a global fast food chain for allowing their Muslim workers to wear hijab at work.
Activities related to the celebration of World Hijab Day were held in Iligan City where more than 300 Muslim and non-Muslim females joined hands, and advocated for more understanding about the use of the traditional head-covering as a symbol of dignity in Islam and other contemporary religions, NCMF officials said.
NCMF Spokesman Jun Alonto-Datu Ramos said the Iligan City segment of the celebration was jointly led on January 31 and February 1 by NCMF Regional Director Lominog Lao and ranking officials of the city, the Office on Muslim and Higaonon Community, the Peace Community Resilience and other city groups promoting gender development.
He said the celebration was spearheaded by chairperson Yasmin Alonto Naga and Dalisay Macagaan, heads of the NCMF’s Bureau of Muslim Settlement Division and division on GAD, respectively.
The two-day celebration pursued the theme “Unity In Diversity, Aiming For Empowerment In Hijab,” the official said.
In another statement, Datu Ramos cited a McDonald’s branch at the SM City of Davao’s Ecoland district for allowing its Muslim workers to wear hijab at work.
“The firm caught the attention of Muslim Filipinos because of (its) hijab-wearing employee, implying a significant impact against discrimination of Muslim women based on what they wear,” Datu Ramos said.
“Muslim Filipino women have endured discrimination for many years, with complaints reaching the NCMF about establishments, such as schools, banning the use of niqabs, burkas, and hijabs inside their premises,: he said.
On August 8, 2013, he said, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) issued an advisory as a response to the protest of the NCMF for Muslim females to be allowed to wear head coverings in public places.
The celebration of “World Hijab Day” is an annual event founded by Nazma Khan in 2013, encouraged women of all religions and backgrounds to wear and experience the hijab.