Female journalists reportedly forced to wear hijabs

(Star) Female journalists were reportedly forced to wear hijabs – veils covering their heads and chests – during KCB’s Islamic banking launch on Thursday.

Those who refused to oblige were turned away, claimed journalists who attended the Sahl banking event at Hilton Hotel, Nairobi on Thursday.

They said those allowed to stay were sat separately from their male colleagues and forbidden from addressing speakers directly.

Their male colleagues allegedly asked questions on their behalf.

KCB did not mention the conditions in a brief to media houses requesting for coverage.

In a phone interview with the Star, Ogilvy Public Relations, which handled the event, said it had asked that journalists be exempt from the rule.

The company said KCB however noted that the conditions had been set by the Muslim leaders who organised the event.

Ogilvy apologised for the confusion saying women without hijabs were not turned away but were asked to sit at the back.

The company confirmed that men and women occupied separate rooms and that female journalists were asked to give their questions to their male counterparts.

The Shariah-compliant product initially launched for six of KCB’s branches is intended to tap into the growing demand among Muslims across East Africa.