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from the article:

In a shocking incident at the Colonial War Memo­rial Hospital (CWMH) on Tuesday, a caregiver faced religious discrimination when a head nurse instructed her to remove her hijab upon reporting to work at the new surgical ward.

Residing in Komave settlement in Nabua, Rasida Janif was completing her two-month internship as a caregiver, hav­ing successfully completed her caregiving courses at the Fiji National University (FNU).

Ms J anif claimed the head nurse explicitly directed her to take off her hijab, asserting that the hospital was “not a religious facility”.

The statement left Ms Janif with mixed emotions, describing the incident as racially motivated and emotionally distressing.

“This is the first time I’ve had to endure such a horrifying experience,” Ms Janif said, expressing her dismay at the sudden discriminatory treatment.

“I’ve worked in many places, and everyone accepted my attire as it is.”

Ms Janif highlighted she had initially been advised to wear a shorter hijab during her first weeks of attachment, which she willingly complied with.

However, the abrupt demand to remove her hijab later in her internship conflicted with her religious beliefs, leaving her feeling targeted.

The Islamic headscarf, she emphasised, is not merely a piece of clothing but “a big part of her identity,” and relinquishing it would compromise her deeply held religious convictions.

Feeling disheartened, she still expressed her dedication to caregiving, citing it as her sole job opportunity.

In response to the issue, the Fiji Muslim League headquarters in Suva received a complaint from Ms Janif and intends to file a formal complaint with the Ministry of Health.

Colonial War Memorial Hospital Medical Superintendent, Dr Luke Nasedra, clarified that wearing a hijab “is allowed” and not prohibited within the hospital.

The Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Ratu Atonio Lalabalavu, said he had not received a formal complaint and could not comment any further.

The Fiji Women Crisis Centre coordinator, Shamima Ali, condemned the incident as a violation of human rights in a democratic country like Fiji.

She said such actions go against religious beliefs, deeming it “unacceptable” and a blatant human rights violation that demands immediate attention.

The Fiji Human Rights and AntiDiscrimination Commission will await an official complaint from the victim.

#fiji #pasifika #hijab #workplace #discrimination

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