Know Your Rights – Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman
In our world today, oppression and victimization of Muslims is no longer strange. We hear and read these stories every week. If one’s Niqab is not yanked off, another’s Hijab might be pulled, the one in beards is called an extremist and the one who has the courage to say, “Allahu Akbar”, a fanatic. Indeed, there are some laws that permit oppression of Muslims. For example, some organizations will not take sisters in Niqab, the working hours does not permit to go for Salah etc. While we still write about and try to address these, what I find strange is when there is no law or logical argument to back up these oppressions and it is done with pride.
Yesterday, I received a call requesting that I go to “Division B” Police Station, Surulere, Ilorin. A sister who wears the Khimar was at the Police Station with others to report her neighbours who broke her husband’s head and hand with stones when a fight was said to have ensued over blockage of the passage. Meanwhile, that is not the beginning of the story. The sister reported that this Christian woman and her children would open her door without knocking, insult her for dressing “like a masquerade” and also say to the sister as well as her husband, “Are you old enough to get married?“. Meanwhile, the brother is not in his early twenties and the sister is not a teen. The Christians were said to have locked up the couple in the house they paid for and they (the Christians) did not deny. Infact, they did not deny that the Christian woman was running after the sister’s husband with stones till she broke his head. The husband was later admitted to the General Hospital.
I got to the Police Station and met others discussing with a policeman. After some minutes, I was changed to engage the policeman.
Me : … Sir, we gathered that this didn’t start today. We were told the the Christian neighbours do oppress this lady and her husband because they are younger. They call them names and call her a masquerade for wearing the Khimar. Looks like we have many cases here because …”
The policeman did not let me continue, he interrupted and started asking us not to” bring religion into this matter”. He started by narrating how he is a Christian and Muslim though a Christian. He furthered by telling us how he lived with an Alhaji that would go to church with him not knowing that is not even impressing. I asked him more than three times to let us address the cause of the fight but No! He did not but said he’s treating the case as “DPP” (Disturbance of Public Peace). “Okay. But sir, what led to the DPP” but he was not ready to talk about it. We were still discussing when the sister was asked to go out of the office, within few minutes, one of the sisters that went with her came back very angry!!!
The sister whose husband’s head was broken was asked to sit behind the counter! “What! Why!”, we asked. They were explaining to us that since it is DPP, the complainant and accused need to be behind the counter. We were listening to this when the sister told us, “They ordered her to remove her Khimar as she cannot use it behind the counter”
What?!!! The policewomen on duty asked the sister to remove the Khimar as no one is allowed to be behind the counter in such. SubhanAllah! They had taken her to an enclosed place to remover her Khimar when they discovered she wore nothing underneath. They were still bent on the removal and asked the sister that came to call our attention to remove her own Hijab so the sister could use to cover her body! SubhanAllah! Before we could come out to see what was happening, they already uncovered the sister’s head. It got worse when they acted like that is the law and there is nothing we can do about it.
Enraged, we sprung into action. While a Mallam called Barrister Ishaq Sekoni on phone to come immediately, I put a call to Mallam Sanusi Lafiagi who come with an officer working in the Police Station, called Mallam Lawal Fatai who came with another lawyer, called Prof. Ishaq Akintola who promised to and did send down MURIC Chairman, Kwara State chapter to meet us there. By then, the Christian people’s family were already tensed and they started begging and shivering.
Though angry at that moment, it was laughable when a policewoman was engaged by Mallam Sanusi as to why should she ( the Muslim sister) be uncovered. She tried fruitlessly to justify it while Mallam Sanusi concluded that, even if there’s a law, we should still apply logic. The policewoman wanted us to warn the sister to wear something underneath and it is not good to appear like that in Khimar. Mallam Sanusi took her up and asked what she knew about the Khimar. “If you paid attention to the circumstances surrounding her coming here, you should expect a woman whose husband’s head just got broken to be like that. Meanwhile, the Khimar she wore, is it not better than the girls who walk around half naked or what exact is the point?”, he furthered.
Barrister Ishaq Sekoni and others went in with others to talk to the D.C.O. The D.C.O while trying to justify uncovering of the sister’s head said it is the law. Barrister Ishaq Sekoni told him he has the constitution in his car and he would love to see what page that is in the constitution and that was it!!!
The D.C.O eventually apologized while the policewoman too was sober. At the time of writing this report, the case against the police had been laid to rest given the apology but if anything comes up, it might be reawakened. The sister was also released and In shaa Allah, they’re addressing the case with her neighbours this morning.
Mallam Sanusi Lafiagi commenting on this said, “This case is just to teach us that we need to know our rights and stand on our feet. Indeed, there are many things we can achieve if we do things like these”
I (Lucas Bashir) have always argued that while Unity in Diversity can work on tribal and political grounds, it does not help religion , Islam in particular. Unity in diversity is a threat to Da’wah and Jihad. If there’s a need for unity on religious grounds, it should be on a proper understanding of the Deen. We went to to Police Station for Jihad and our ONE VOICE really helped the situation. Everyone said, “THIS IS WRONG”. We can imagine if we have with us, a liberal, rationalist, modernist or Quraniyyun who probably might start to argue that is it so necessary to use the Khimar and stars to give the police excuses. It becomes a problem.
Also, unlike organizations set up to engage Muslims in religious shenanigans and a waste of time in the name of worship, organizations set up to be voice for Muslims, stand up for Muslim rights should not be take to the gallows due to one or two errors. We can as well tell them to be Sunnah inclined while these organizations are enjoined to seek proper understanding of the religion not leading to further misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the religion they want to be a voice for and of course, not partisan.
Do know your rights!
Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman
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