South Africa lifts ban on use of hijab in the military

Female military officers in South Africa can now wear their hijabs with their military uniforms.

It follows a review of the dress code of the South African military after a rights organisation challenged the policy in court.

A Muslim woman, Maj Fatima Isaacs has waged a two year battle against the dress policy after she was charged with disobeying lawful commands or orders.

The Legal Resources Centre said the changes followed discussions with the South Africa National Defence Force (SANDF).

Women in Hijab

The centre has since filed a notice to withdraw the suit in the Equality Court.

“We will therefore not be pursuing this matter further as the current SANDF policy no longer discriminates against Muslim women in the military,” it tweeted.

Military spokesman Brigadier-General Mafi Mgobhozi is quoted by the IOL news site as saying “The Military Religious Dress Policy was updated accordingly which allows a Muslim woman to wear her scarf.”

Meanwhile Isaacs told the Cape Times the latest development was an important victory, not only for her, but for all those who were silently victimized because of their religion.

“I am happy with the successful outcome of the case, I am grateful to my legal team for assisting me.

“We are living in a democratic country which means that there should be no discrimination with regards to religious beliefs. I believe religion is the foundation of a moral state/country. This is an important victory,” she said.


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