Despite Muslims very large percentage in the nation’s population, we are still made to suffer the highest level of discrimination from our neighbours who only pay lip service to religious tolerance.
It’s indecipherable to me how schools owned by the federal government is tactically made inhabitable for adherents of a certain religion, hijab as a case of study. What sense of unity do we ascribe to an academic institution where intolerance is the day’s order? Should a school where religious intolerance is at its peak be regarded as a unity School? It should however be known that we are not advocating that all female students or all female Muslim students be accorded the liberty to wear hijab on their uniforms, we are rather saying that the interested ones be allowed to exercise their religious franchise.
Recently, I heard of a soothing news that the struggle of the Muslim Community of the FGGC, Sagamu, Ogun State on their quest to have hijab added to the students’ uniform had been granted by the ministry. Alhamdulillah!
A rational citizen should be surprised by this news. Yes! Not because it was granted, but for the reason that might have led to the initial disenfranchisement. Do we need to ceaselessly write letters before we can enjoy our rights? Do we need to appear in court before we can be granted our entitlements? It is also impossible to neglect the level at which this disturbing situation sits down with a lot of Muslim parents who have their wards across the unity schools in the country.
No federal school in the Southwest has fewer than 400 Muslims. More so, some schools such as my alma mater, FGC Ikirun, has over 500 Muslim students. One would be forced to ask if all the 500 Muslim parents are at ease or cannot lift a finger about this issue. Our parents are not showing agitation, and their domancy is depriving us of our rights.
The schools whose requests had been granted have got a lot of stories to tell. The struggle wasn’t without expulsion and suspension of students, which is constitutionally wrong. Imagine getting a student expelled because he requested for his right.
Though efforts are being made by teachers yet the turn out of parents is low. I suppose the parents should have a louder voice than the teachers in this issue. Apparently, we need more Islamic organizations to provide support whereby our voices can be heard and our needs met.
During my days in school, I heard many fallacious excuses from Christian friends as to why Hijab should remain a forbidden attire. Interestingly, the reasons had nothing to do with those who clamour against it. We are the ones wearing it, why are they complaining on our behalf? Also, they have not been able to lay before us a tangible and constitutional reason why hijab should not be allowed. A country without law is said to have no offenders. The constitution of Nigeria is in full support of free expression of religious beliefs, and whatever is against the constitution is a crime. So we ask, why do we have a law that’s of no benefit to us?
This piece is also a form of appeal to our parents, teachers, concerned organizations to intervene so as to blow off the flame of this long standing religious oppression. Our parents are especially urged to collectively take bold steps in quenching this saga.
Knowislam….. Telling our stories