MWO Chairlady, Fatima Ndaila
In order to effectively fight the HIV/AIDS problem among the Muslim community, there is need for effective participation of men in the fight against the pandemic. This is the view of the chairlady of the Muslim Women Organisation (MWO) sister Fatima Ndaila, who asked Muslim men in the country to support women in the struggle and avoid blaming them of bringing HIV/AIDS into their homes.
Sister Ndaila told Malawi Muslim Official Website that “it is sad to note that over half of Muslim brothers in Malawi think that only women are the ones who bring HIV/AIDS in their homes.”
She was reacting to findings by Muslim Sisters Aids Network (Musanet) that over 200 out of 1,000 of its members are HIV positive. She said this is so due to ignorance, pretence and failure to work together with women.
“Men don’t want to work with us women. When they see us, they just think we are haram but when they do their infidelities, they are right,” she complained.
“And that mentality of considering husbands as heads of the family, I think is also what is killing us women. One time it came to the point that a certain woman (Musanet member) found herself in difficulties when she tried to deliver HIV/AIDS messages to her husband.” Sister Ndaila said the woman’s husband was so furious and accused her of being misled by some unmarried women.
“To me it was a great shock in as far as this pandemic is concerned. So let us work together in fighting this pandemic among the Muslim community in Malawi,” added sister Ndaila.
The chairlady further gave examples on how other men react when they receive messages on HIV/AIDS.
“I remember a certain day when other men walked out of the meeting after Musanet introduced the topic of polygamy. It was not that women were against it but we were trying to discuss some areas that are not good. But they stormed out without further attending the meeting. Now, with that, do you think we can work together? She wondered.
When asked if polygamy is also one of the contributing factors to the spread of HIV/AIDS among Muslims, sister Ndaila was quick to say: “No! Let me be clear here. We are not saying Polygamy is what increases HIV/AIDS but we have to know that in this era, polygamous practices are very tricky and quite different from the past. We should not pretend as we are clean while we are not but let us also learn to accept that there are other Muslims who are suffering out there.”
According to the chairlady, Muslim Women Organisation was formed in 1986 and it falls under Muslim Association of Malawi.