Muslim women in Singapore who work in frontline roles in the public sector are generally banned from wearing a headscarf (tudung, or hijab). This has long been a source of unhappiness for Muslim women, who are forced to choose between their faith and their work. Educator and active citizen Nur Friday talks to PJ Thum and Sean Francis Han (Wake Up Singapore) about the issue from the perspective of a tudung-wearing Singaporean. She talks about the importance of the headscarf to her faith, the lack of representation for Muslim women, the problems with PAP government policy making, the transformation of the issue from a Muslim issue to a national issue, and addresses misconceptions about the headscarf and Islam.

Maliki Osman’s statement on Dr Ahmad Al-Tayyeb’s statement of removal of Hijab (at 12:29 in the video):

Original transcript of Dr Ahmed Al-Tayyeb Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar regarding removal of the Hijab (Page 17):

Easy to read resources on the Tudung issue:
@lepakconversations –
@beyondhijabsg –

This episode is a collaboration with Wake Up, Singapore. You can find out more about them online on their website, Facebook and Instagram.


Thum Ping Tjin

Thum Ping Tjin (“PJ”) is Managing Director of New Naratif and founding director of Project Southeast Asia, an interdisciplinary research centre on Southeast Asia at the University of Oxford. A Rhodes Scholar, Commonwealth Scholar, Olympic athlete, and the only Singaporean to swim the English Channel, his work centres on Southeast Asian governance and politics. His most recent work is Living with Myths in Singapore (Ethos: 2017, co-edited with Loh Kah Seng and Jack Chia). He is creator of “The History of Singapore” podcast, available on iTunes. Reach him at

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