The refusal to call a female Muslim Nigerian Law School graduate, Miss Amasa Firdaus, to bar, has continued to generate controversy in the country.
ALEDEH recalls that the University of Ilorin graduate was denied access to the call to bar ceremony after insisting on wearing the hijab during the ceremony.
Miss Firdaus was specifically refused entry into the hall for insisting to wear the wig on top of her hijab–a headscarf.
Few hours after the news broke, Amasa Firdaus and Hijab topped Nigerian Twitter trend, following the significant attention the case attracted.
Speaking on the development, the devout Muslim said she remains resolute in her convictions to set a precedent for Hijab-wearing Muslims during the ceremony.
“My major concern is the approval of Hijab so that every person coming behind me will be able to use it for the call to bar (ceremony)”, she said.
They Try To Suppress Us At The Law School” Says Female Muslim Attorney
Following the controversy surrounding Miss Firdaus’s lack of access to the call to bar ceremony, another female Muslim attorney, Barrister Maryama Lawal who was called to bar on the same day Miss Firdaus was denied access to the call to bar ceremony, has narrated her ordeal.
In an interview with Abdulqudus Sulaiman Oye, the female attorney, stressed that those at the helm of affairs try to suppress Muslims at the law school, adding that she and other female Muslims were called to bar after they removed their hijab.
“All of us, and all the other tons of hijab sister I know even our seniors had to remove their hijabs. You can’t go through the doors with it on. After u take it off, they come looking for you in the hall to make sure you don’t wear it back although I wore mine back when the ceremony started I had to take it off.
Speaking further, Barrister Lawal disclosed that the Muslim sisters are not allowed to wear the hijab during dinner.
“They don’t allow us to use our hijab during the dinner, I was lucky in my campus because for the first time and by the efforts of one the senior lecturers who is a Muslim we used our hijab at all three dinners. But in campuses like Lagos and Abuja they gave them a tough time”, she added.
How My Certificate Was Seized Over Hijab – Female Muslim Attorney, Aisha Zubair
Another female Muslim attorney, Barrister Aisha Zubair, a graduate of Unilorin, has revealed how her certificate was seized at the call to bar ceremony because she wore her hijab.
Zubair said she succeeded in putting on her hijab to the podium and refused the ceremonial handshake with the Chief Justice of Nigerian, CJN.
Narrating the inhumane treatment that greeted her audacious attempt Zubair said: “I had my hijab on for the ceremony although it was tough and I had to sneak it in and remove it up to three times but each time I wore it back. At the end, I walked up to the podium in Hijab and refused to shake hands with the CJN.
“There were consequences though, they barged to my seat, demanded I remove the Hijab, stepped on it several times, kicked it around even more times then asked a guard to stand by it so I couldn’t retrieve it. Then they demanded my certificate and seized it. I had to go beg after the ceremony for it” she opined.
Having To Remove The Hijab Is Dehumanising – UNILAG Best Graduating Law Student, Bar. Aaisha Okesola
UNILAG best Graduating Law student and first class graduate of Law School, Bar. Aaisha Okesola has condemned the act of forcing female Muslim law graduates to remove their hijab as dehumanising.
In an interview with Abdulqudus Sulaiman Oye, Okesola described the process of instructing female Muslims to remove the hijab as ” discriminating on grounds of religion”.
Asked if she was instructed to remove her hijab before she was called to bar, Okesola said: “Yes. My view is simple. Having to remove the hijab is dehumanising. I felt so light, I couldn’t wait for the ceremony to be over.
She continued: “Wearing the hijab for the call would not in the least bit, affect the ceremony.
The Constitution is clear on the right to religion. The grounds for derogation from the right to religion are clearly stated in Section 45, none of these instances occurred at the call ceremony, so I see no reason why we should be told to remove it.
“I think the problem stems from not understanding how important the hijab is to a Muslim girl. Most people assume it’s a mere piece of clothing, so removing it for a few hours would do no harm.
” Instructing us to remove the hijab is discriminating on grounds of religion. Meaning if a Muslim girl is not willing to compromise, the legal profession is not for her. Ordinarily, the call ceremony should have been a happy one. At least, an opportunity to celebrate the years of hard work but most Muslim sisters could not enjoy it”, Okesola lamented.
Asked if all the Muslim sisters had to remove their hijabs to gain entry into the conference centre, Okesola said: “Yes. Your head must be bare to enter the hall. The woman even made my friend and I show her where we dropped our caps outside. She told us to pick it after the call”.
Hijab Simply Means Decent Dressing For Muslim Women – Sultan Of Sokoto
The Sultan of Sokoto and President-Generation of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Dr Mohammad Sa’ad Abubakar has decried the raging controversy over Hijab.
Sa’ad Abubakar who spoke in Lagos on Saturday during the fifth National Convention of Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) with the theme, “Public Trust and Accountability”, said Hijab simply means decent dressing for Muslim women and part and parcel of Islam.
Represented by a member of NSCIA and Wazirin of Katsina, Prof. Sanni Abubakar Lugga, the Sultan said Hijab is not only a mode of dressing in Islam only but it is also an accepted mode of dressing in Christianity and Judaism.
The Sultan stressed that Muslims are peace- loving and they should be allowed to practise their religion as stipulated by Allah and as contained in the traditions of Prophet Mohammad.
“His eminence wonders while Hijab has now become a controversial issue. Hijab simply means decent dressing, decent dressing by the females. So why should decent dressing be a problem? The Hijab is just an Arabic word. In English, it means decent dressing.
“His Eminence has asked Nigerians to reflect and see that this is not only an Islamic mode of dressing but a Christian mode of dressing. It is also a Judaism mode of dressing and it is a dressing for every decent woman. It is a dressing for any woman who wants to preserve her chastity in public.
“Secondly, in Nigerian constitution, it is absolutely clear. Why should Nigerian Muslims be molested and even denied their own right? The Appeal Court ruling in Ilorin is there, the Appeal Court in Lagos and also the High Court all delivered judgement in favour of Hijab.
“Justice Alooma, the former CJN, Justice Bukalchuwa and other Senior Justices in Nigeria wear their Hijab and then the wig on top of it. The Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC), the Highest body in the judiciary has not said, ‘no, they should stop’ which means the Nigerian constitution allows the Hijab, the Nigerian Courts through these three judgements have allowed the Hijab and the NJC through these senior judges have allowed the Hijab.
“Why will a legal school refuse our sister’s induction into the judiciary simply because she is wearing Hijab? Is the law school saying they are above the NJC, they are above the Nigerian constitution, they are above these three senior courts?” he questioned.
Controversy On Hijab Is Needless – NBA President
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mahmoud Olufunke Abimbola, SAN, says the controversy on hijab is needless.
The NBA President was reacting to the development where a female Muslim law school graduate Amasa Firdaus was prevented from being called to Bar due to the wearing of the hijab, said the matter would be addressed, adding that the NBA would embrace diversity.
Barrister Abimbola made the comment on micro-blogging site, Twitter, where he made reference to a UK based Nigerian attorney who was recognized for promoting diversity in the legal profession.
The NBA President wrote: “UK based Nigerian lawyer recognized for promoting diversity in the legal profession.
“The NBA will embrace diversity and tolerance in the Nigerian legal profession. The Hijab issue will be addressed.
” My Daughter Zubaida Mahmoud at the ceremony admitting her to the New York Bar earlier this year…the controversy here on Hijab is needless”, he added.
Barrister Abimbola went further to share a picture of his daughter being admitted to the New York Bar while wearing a hijab.
Credit : Aledeh.com