Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fiji Says No Hijabs For Photo ID

Whether they like it or not, Muslim women in the Fiji Islands will be forced to have their pictures taken sans their hijabs for their Fiji National Provident Fund and Fiji Revenue Customs Authority joint ID card. Fiji does not have the equivalent of a CAIR advocating for veiled women, so Fijian officials have no-one to cave in to.

Apparently, two women who were refused service at the FNPF because they would not remove their veils for their photo ID, are getting no help from one of the local Muslim organizations:

Fiji Muslim League general secretary Tabiz Akbar said despite the religious and cultural belief held by the Muslim women, if the government required Muslim women to take pictures for certain things especially dealing with matters of national interest, then there was nothing they could do.

One of the women, Roselyn Karim, believes it is blasphemy to take off her hijab, especially during Ramadan:

"I can't just take off my hijab in front of anyone, especially a man. That violates my religion and I feel that I would have shamed not only myself but my family.
"The Prime Minister has been saying that he will ensure that nobody's religion is violated."

According to Aisake Taito, the FNFP requires the removal of head scarves for safety measures :

"One of the key requirements for the Joint ID procedures is a face-check verification.

"This is to ensure that the applicant is indeed a bona fide member/ taxpayer.

"If staff are not able to see the member's full facial features required for identification purposes, then there is no assurance that the member is the same person that is on the IDs being presented to us."

"Bending this customer identification and face validation procedure can be a channel for identity theft; thus is high risk.

"We do appreciate that everyone has a right to their religious/cultural belief which dictates the way they dress.

"But for identification purposes, particularly in the issuance of new ID, it is important that procedures are followed.

"It must be noted that our procedures also allow our Muslim women member's privacy to have their hijab and burqa removed in the presence of a female staff, who will verify their identity."

So the mother and daughter will get their photos taken by women.

At least the Fijians didn't cave.

Source: Fiji Times

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