We live in such a country where some women have to pay the cost of wearing a niqab.

Maldives is known as an Islamic nation and our present Government seems to be concerned about the Islamic values in the country. But this is also a land where a primary school teacher is sacked because she refused to take off her niqab, or full-face veil, for work.

The Ministry of Education has sacked Aishath Suzee, a primary school teacher just because she refused to take off her niqab, or full-face veil, for work. Aishath Suzee,was sacked on Thursday from her job at the Alif Alif Atoll Education Center after the school repeatedly warned her to remove her niqab. Though according to the rules something like that must be handed over in written form and Aishath was not informed of it in writing.

The parents of the 18 grade one students on the island had to take their children home when no teacher arrived to take the class . A parent, who asked to remain anonymous, told that  “There was no teacher. So we all took our kids home . He added: “She is the only trained teacher available to teach grade one.“We all know who she is. She shows her face to the kids. She only wears the niqab inside the classroom because the room can be seen from the streets.”

The ministry says the niqab is banned under a Civil Service Commission guideline that states civil servants “must be dressed in a manner that makes them identifiable easily”. But after taking a closer look we found that Clause 145 subsection [a] of the Civil Service Regulation does not specifically state that ‘niqab’ is prohibited.  A lawsuit has been filed requesting the court to nullify the clause in the Civil Service Regulation, which prohibits civil servants to wear ‘niqab’ or face veil, while attending work. The lawsuit has been filed by a group of twelve individuals, consisting of lawyers and religious scholars.

This is not the first time that such a case has occurred, earlier also people have been sacked citing such reasons. Though, one thing still remains unclear and that is the intentions of the PPM Government behind such acts. During the elections, both Pres. Yameen and his ministers preached about the values of Islam and how they should never be neglected. Even when asked about the extremists behind Yameen Rashid’s murder case, Pres. Yameen said that no one has the right to make fun of Islam. Even the Maldivian Police kept quiet and did nothing while Yameen Rasheed kept complaining about the threats he received from such ‘extremists’.

Not only this, the Islamic ministry published an action plan for Islam in the Maldives. According to the action plan: “wearing the niqab, growing the beard and keeping one’s lower garments at ankle-length are permitted in Islam and do not constitute as extremism.” Islamic scholars had recommended that Take rapid action to stop actions that violate Islamic Shariah .

Yet In past year, several immigration officers have been sacked for refusing on religious grounds to trim their beards and lower the hem of their trousers below the ankles. Women have lost their jobs for wearing niqab and workplace. On one hand PPM Government talks about protecting the virtues of Islam and on the other hand it destroys those very virtues. If this is not hypocrisy then I don’t know what it is !