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Gambia President lifts ban on uncovered hair

TVC NEWS – Barely a month after Yahya Jammeh, Gambian President, declared the Muslim-majority country an Islamic republic, he imposed a ban that stated: “Executive directive has been issued that all female staff within the government ministries, departments and agencies are no longer allowed to expose their hair during official working hours.”

He said the move was in line with the nation’s “religious identity and values”.

The ban which was imposed on the 4th of January, however was met with lots of resistance by the opposition group, and has been scrapped.

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It was lifted because it made women “unhappy”, his office said in a statement, adding that they were his “best friends”.

“Women are (Mr Jammeh’s) best friends, they are his sisters and he is here for their wellbeing and happiness at all times,” a statement said.

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“That being the case, this decision that makes them unhappy has been lifted.”

The Gambia is popular with Western tourists because of its beaches. About 90% of Gambians are Muslim – and many Muslim scholars believe that Islam orders women to cover their hair in public.

Rights activists accuse Mr Jammeh – who has been in power since 1994 – of presiding over a brutal regime which is intolerant of dissent.

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He portrays himself as a devout Muslim with miraculous powers – once claiming that he could cure Aids with a herbal concoction.

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