Davao City passes law allowing Muslim women to wear head, face covers

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Bai Halila Y. Sudagar, indigenous peoples representative in the Davao City council, is a member of the Kagan Tribe and also a Muslim. — BW FILE PHOTO/CACARILLO

THE MUSLIM community in Davao City welcomed the passage of an ordinance that respects their tradition of wearing head and face covers for women. “We welcome this initiative because it shows that the city government encourages its people to respect one another,” Aleem Mahmod M. Adilao of the Bishop Ulama Conference said. The city council approved last week the ordinance that protects Muslim women from discrimination if they wear head and face covers as a symbol of their faith, either in schools, workplaces, or business establishments. Halila Y. Sudagar, representative of the indigenous peoples to the city council who pushed for the law, said it is significant to have such a rule considering that some foreign countries ban this tradition. Under the ordinance, Muslim women can wear hijab, which covers the head and the chest; niqab, a face and head cover that only shows the eyes; or, burqa, which covers the entire body and leaves only a mesh screen for the eyes. — Carmelito Q. Francisco