Gambia Orders Female Workers To Cover Hair In Public And At Work

Gambia Orders Female Workers To Cover Hair In Public And At Work

The Gambia's government led by its President, Yahya Jammeh, has ordered its female employees to cover their hair at work.

The memo added that women should use a "head tie and neatly wrap their hair", without giving reasons for the ban.

This decision by President Yahya Jammeh is a  religious practice for Muslim women  to cover their hair in public, more especially when Gambia is known to be an Islamic State.


Last month, Yahya Jammeh declared the Muslim-majority country an Islamic republic. He added that no dress code would be imposed and citizens of other faiths would be allowed to practise freely. Some 90% of Gambians are Muslim.

When Mr Jammeh declared The Gambia an Islamic republic, he said the move was in line with the West African nation's "religious identity and values".

His critics said the declaration was intended to deflect attention from the poor state of the economy, including the rise in the price of basic commodities. However, the requirement is not strictly adhered to in The Gambia.

First Lady Zineb Yahya Jammeh has previously appeared in public with her hair uncovered.In November, the Gambian leader banned female circumcision, saying it was not required in Islam.

The Gambia is popular with Western tourists because of its beaches. Mr Jammeh withdrew the former British colony from the Commonwealth in 2013, describing the organisation as neo-colonial. The European Union temporarily withheld aid money to The Gambia in 2014 over its poor human rights record.

Mr Jammeh, who seized power in 1994 as a 29-year-old army lieutenant, is accused by rights activists of presiding over a brutal regime which is intolerant of dissent.


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