Saturday, 18 January 2020 | 16:40 WIB

South African Military Personnel Ordered to Remove Hijab Sparks Anger

South African Military Personnel Ordered to Remove Hijab Sparks Anger (africanews)

JOHANNESBURG, NETRALNEWS.COM - South Africans have expressed their anger after the military carried out disciplinary action against a senior female officer because she was wearing a headscarf under her military beret.

Major Fatima Isaac (47) was charged in a military court in Cape Town on Tuesday (25/6) for ignoring orders not to wear a headscarf while wearing a uniform.

"We have sent a letter to the Minister of Defense to express our concerns and objections to this issue. We believe this is unconstitutional. It contradicts the spirit and content of our constitution," said Faisal Suliman, Chairman of the South African Muslim Network (SAMNET) to the Turkish News Agency, Anadolu, Tuesday night.

Suliman said he believed that the act of being sympathized with Fatima was blocking the development of a multi-plural society.

"We believe the headscarf does not interfere in uniform affairs and also not the abilities of Major Fatima or others," Suliman said, as quoted by Anadolu, Friday (6/28/2019).

He also urged the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) to make the necessary changes to the dress code of ethics to accommodate all faith groups.

Fatima had worked as a forensic pathologist at a military hospital in Cape Town, where she had been wearing hijab for years, despite orders to open it.

But last week, the officer received the last written warning and this week was presented at a military court.

The head of the Royal House of Mandela also issued a statement condemning the incident.

"It is inconceivable that the South African National Defense Forces will reject the right of an employee to exercise his religious freedom to wear a headscarf," he said.

The Royal House of Mandela was also minister of the Defense Minister to set aside disciplinary action against Fatima, and said it was a real slander against Fatima's right to exercise her religious freedom, Antara reported.