Workers' Party calls for public dialogue on hijab issue

The Workers' Party (WP) has called for public dialogue to achieve a "workable consensus" on the issue of uniformed public officers wearing the hijab or Muslim headscarf, adding that these discussions should also involve the heads of the uniformed professions.

Get the full story from The Straits Times.

Here is the full statement from the Workers' Party:

Current hijab discussion should not be politicised; Dialogue with uniformed professions urged

WP is committed to the ideal of a multi-racial and multi-cultural Singapore where citizens of all faiths and races have the right to practice their religion as fully as possible in harmony with all the communities. We value diversity in unity, and believe that the understanding and embracing of diversity will allow Singapore to become a more inclusive and integrated society.

Therefore, as a principle, WP recognises the genuine desire and aspirations of Muslim Singaporeans who seek a change in government policy to allow the wearing of the hijab in the public sector's uniformed professions.

WP observes that over the years, Singaporeans have grown accustomed to working Muslim women who choose to don the hijab in government offices, as nurses in some private hospitals, in schools as teachers and even as participants at National Day parades. We recognise that good relations exist among our communities in Singapore, and believe that this will decide how far each group can practice their religion in an environment of tolerance and mutual respect.

WP is of the view that the current hijab discussions should not be politicised. WP believes that a workable consensus is best achieved through public dialogue within the Muslim community, among our communities, and with the government elected by the people. The discussions should be carried on with an open mind, and include the input of the heads of uniformed professions on the feasibility of accommodating the wearing of the hijab in their organisations, subject to considerations such as operational exigencies.

Finally, WP notes the overwhelmingly rational response of the Muslim community in voicing their views and concerns over the hijab discussion so far. This augurs well for positive discussions between the community, the government and the uniformed services going forward. We urge that Singaporeans be guided by a spirit of mutual understanding and support in these discussions, so as to preserve and strengthen cohesion in our society.

Muhamad Faisal bin Abdul Manap
Member of Parliament (Aljunied GRC)
Council Member, Workers' Party
President, WP Youth Wing