Thousands of Muslim women across the country on Saturday gathered at Bua Community Day Secondary School ground in Mchinji to celebrate this year’s Muslim Women convention (Ijitmah).
The convention is held annually and is aimed at sharing Islamic teachings and women issues among other things.
Speaking when she presided over the official launch, First lady Madam Gertrude Mutharika said women in the country play a vital role in the development of the country.
“For the country to move forward, it needs the participation of women in all spheres of life be it religion, development activities and taking care of families,” she said.
Madam Mutharika said this year’s women Ijtimah theme “the role of women in development” is in line with President Mutharika’s government stance of ensuring that women are promoted in the country.
“I am glad that Islam takes women as an important part of the religion, and women should learn from one another during such forums,” she said.
The First Lady commended the Muslim women for organising the convention, saying the platform should help uplift women and help them, and share experiences on how they can improve their livelihoods.
Madam Mutharika also called for women to take care of their health issues by among other things, ensuring that they go for cervical cancer screening and attend pre-natal services to prevent maternal complications.
She then stressed the need for women to uplift one another and not pull each other down.
In her remarks, Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Cecilia Chazama, called on the Muslim women to educate their children, especially girls.
She said educating girls would help them to be self-reliant in future, hence support their families and end poverty.
National Chairlady of Muslim Women Organisation of Malawi (MWO), Fatima Ndaila, said contrary to people’s opinion that women in the religion are oppressed; the Muslim women are respected and play a big role.
She said the Muslim women should be hardworking and loving to others, irrespective of their religion.
Ndaila called on government not to allow people who take pictures for identity cards to order Muslim women to remove hijabs (Head covers), saying this is an infringement to their rights.
“A Muslim woman is identified by her dressing and removing the hijabs for identity cards is therefore unfair to the women,” she said.
The convention was also attended by Muslim women from Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.