Muslim women face religious discrimination in hotel industry

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By Dr Rafidah Hanim Mokhtar

I regret that Muslim women in Malaysia still face religious discrimination, when it comes to the wearing of the hijab, which is a religious requirement that many of them adhere to.

This is according to the report by the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF).

MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said he had received complaints from hotel employees regarding the banning of headscarves or hijab at the workplace.

This is something we should not tolerate especially when there’s no plausible explanation as to why the hijab is a hindrance to the nature of their work.

This is even more so in a country which holds Islam as the religion of the Federation.

Simply being in the private sector does not exclude the party from respecting one’s right to practice their religious requirements.

This argument also applies to our national airlines, Malaysia Airlines, where there are also calls from flight attendants to be allowed to observe their religious requirement in wearing hijab.

The fact that flight attendants with hijab had been serving the pilgrims during the Hajj season in flights to Mecca is testimony that wearing the hijab does not determine inefficiency.

With regard to hospitality industries, it is not easy for these women to actually lodge reports, especially when allowances, salaries and placement for internship are involved.

If these are students, we know that internship is part of the requirement in their last semester before they can graduate.

Our Muslim students are trapped in a systematic discriminatory process along the line.

I urge Muslim ladies who face such discrimination to come forward and report it to us at [email protected] We promise to maintain their confidentiality.

Dr Rafidah Hanim Mokhtar is the president of The International Women’s Alliance for Family Institution and Quality Education (Wafiq).

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.