Let Women Decide Whether to Wear Hijab, Says Latheefa

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Women should be free to think for themselves and make their own choice whether to wear or discard the hijab, says lawyer Latheefa Koya.

Reacting to the probe against three women behind a forum on Malay women and discarding the hijab last Saturday, Latheefa said it takes more than a piece of cloth on the head to reflect good behaviour and that women should be free to discuss the choice of their appearances.

“It does not mean those who attended the forum would lose their faith. Let a woman think freely and choose whether they want to wear the hijab or not.

Shafwan Zaidon

“Do not reflect Muslims to be so fragile and obsessed over physique, hair and sex,” the Lawyers for Liberty executive director wrote on Facebook today.

Latheefa expressed her disagreement over forcefully imposing the hijab on women as she said that is not the way of Islam.

“There is no compulsion in religion. Where is this principle?

Syukri Ariffin/Malaysiakini

“Just because a person does not wear the veil, does that mean she will go to hell? Will she become an apostate? Will she become a promiscuous woman? Come on lah [sic]…this is an extremist view,” she said.

On Monday, the minister in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa issued a statement on Facebook that an investigation was being carried out by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) against three women panellists of the forum that was held in conjunction with a book launch.

The trio consists of activist and writer Maryam Lee, who launched her book ‘Unveiling Choice’, legal professional and social media commentator Dian Sofia, and journalist and women’s rights activist Mohani Niza.

Jais officers had the following day visited publisher and book store Gerakbudaya, which had organised the event, to obtain copies of the book and interview the store’s representative, in response to reports against the event.

Gerakbudaya received backlash from some Muslims on social media, after positively presenting the perspectives and opinions of several Malay women who “dehijab”, or no longer cover their hair.

The forum was titled ‘Malay Women and Dehijabing’. – MMO