Spread the love

Avellon Williams 

KINGSTON, JAMAICA- Businesswoman Kareema Muncey is calling on the Jamaican government to make a no-discrimination a policy at work and at school to protect the rights of Muslim women.

Muncey, the chief executive officer of Home Choice Enterprises Limited, lamented the fact that Muslim women are ostracized for wearing a hijab or head covering in public. Their religious attire includes a hijab.

Additionally, Muncey recommended that Jamaica recognize World Hijab Day, observed on February 1 every year in 190 countries since 2013.

“World Hijab Day” was founded by Nazma Khan, a New Yorker. Her hijab was pulled off many times during her time at school due to discrimination. After that, 190 more countries joined in. 

“Workplaces and schools have ostracized us a lot. There is a fear among girls in primary schools that they will be pulled off if they wear the scarf,” Muncey said.

Nazma Khan /Courtesy/

“It would cause problems during the day if you were to wear it because the principals would tell you that you cannot wear it. Often people end up at the ministry where they have to conform.”

“We want to be free to exercise our rights. I am 100 percent Jamaican, but sometimes I hear people saying, ‘Go back to your roots,’ when I travel, especially after 9/11 [September 11, 2001]. When I go to Champs, they ask if I have a bomb in my bag, and so on. Muslim stereotypes are prevalent, “ she emphasized.

In her view, Muslims have made a significant contribution to the economy of Jamaica, no less than any other citizen. She also noted that Muslim women play an integral part in Jamaican society, which she is a part of as the CEO of Home Choice Enterprises.

“I employ up to 55 people at my home-based manufacturing company. There are potentially 100 people involved indirectly. The first Muslim judge is Amina Maknoon, who was appointed to the bench a few years ago and is a full-fledged hijab bearer.

Justice Amina Maknoon /Courtesy/

“Our goal is to draw attention to the positive contributions we make to the economy. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have many hijabis working on the front line as nurses. We have students who excel academically and are enrolled in honors programs. Several girls have been appointed to Kiwanis and youth services groups in Jamaica,” she said.

Adding, “It is important to highlight all these outstanding girls,” noting that there are about 5,000 Muslims in Jamaica, including expats from Nigeria and Arabia.

Jamaican Muslim women have been observing World Hijab Day each year since its creation in 2013 even though the day isn’t officially recognized by the government.

During last year’s pandemic, no activities were held to mark the day. A few groups of Muslim women will walk and educate people on what the hijab is along with other aspects of Islam on February 1, this year, which falls on a Tuesday.


We should have a hijab challenge leading up to that day, so that people will wear their hijab to work. Hopefully, people will enjoy themselves. Hopefully, you will get a sense of what people will say to you.”

“Some people might call you a lunatic and a madwoman when you wear it.”

According to Muncey, booths will be set up in Portmore and Spanish Town malls on February 1. All passersby and other interested persons will be allowed to don their own hijab.

“That’s actually one way of interacting with the public,” she said. Placards will be displayed stating no discrimination at work. 

About Author

Avellon Williams