Religious Bigotry in the light of emerging Issues: Firdaus Amasa as a Case Study.

When would we resolve this issue of religion intolerance that has been rampant among human kind?

It is as if hatred towards practicing Muslims is increasing every day. What have we done to deserve this oppression? When has it became a crime for a Muslim to practice his/her religious obligation to please his/her Maker? Why is it always the Muslims?

There have been several cases of Muslim sisters being deprived of their religious fundamental rights.

Recently, a Muslim sister was barred from entering the ICC for the Call to Bar because she refused to remove her hijab. For God’s sake, what does her hijab have to do with the Call to Bar? Would the hijab cover her brain or prevent her from practicing the profession as expected? I was concerned in a statement I posted on Facebook and a brother commented that “are they asking her for something else rather than to remove the Hijab and for that moment only?” He said further; ”what would have happened to her, if she had removed the Hijab for that very moment?” Then, I asked the brother; “Why didn’t you ask what would have happened if they had just accepted her the way she is?” (You may follow this link to read the full conversation

Also, about a month earlier, one Kemi Ilori yanked off the Hijab of a Muslimah (Shariifah Yunus) and the media kept mute about it as they often keep silent over hate crimes against Muslims.

Now, the hypocrites are saying that putting on hijab is against the dress code on the day of call to bar ceremony. What have they done regarding the one that doesn’t relate to any profession?

Muslim brothers are not excluded from this impediment of being oppressed. There are several cases whereby Muslim brothers are threatened to choose between their religion and worldly benefits, such as in their job and educational advancement. This situation is rampant almost everywhere within this nation of ours.

I keep wondering how my trousers above the ankle affects my intelligence. What does my beards have to do with my ability and capability?

Professor Wole Soyinka chose to leave his beards and he is one of the most respectable scholars in Africa , if not in the world. What makes his own different from mine? How does it concern anyone, if I choose to leave my trousers above the ankle and you choose to be matching on yours? Oh, it’s barbaric? It looks odd, right? Don’t forget that some of the hip hop Stars are now keeping their beards and leaving their trousers above ankles hears, theirs is not barbaric? They even call it freestyle and people are following the trend. They will never receive any reward for this from Almighty God because their actions will would be judged by their intentions.

If Professor Wole Soyinka, the hip hop stars and others choose to satisfy their personal ideology and self desires, why is it a crime for me to do same to please my Lord?

For those that do not know, Chapter 4, Section 38 (1) of the 1999 constitution and Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Right, state: “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”

To those Liberal Muslims that call us extremists, fanatics or other needless names, they are the main source of our problems. I don’t know whether it is as a result of their cowardice, or they are just ignorant and lack knowledge about their religious injunctions. Perhaps, their self desires have made them blind and poisoned their minds to see what is lawful as unlawful and see what is unlawful as lawful?

Imagine a brother was asking me what would have happened, if Firdaus had removed her hijab for that very moment. Another person also said she shouldn’t have read law when she couldn’t afford to remove her hijab.

One of our brothers, Bashir Lucas said in one of his writeups “do they not know that someone who persecutes a Muslimah because of her hijab will come to oppress you or your son for holding a Qur’an? It is not the Hijab they hate but the religion!”

I just don’t understand. It beats my imagination that people follow dogmatically a trend or tradition without questioning why their own human rights should be infringed upon. Yes, there might be a dress code but there should be provision for someone’s religious right. Those that removed their hijab may have succumbed. I neither blamed nor praised them, it should however not be the reason our dear Firdaus should be ostracised or denied. Almighty God punishes or rewards whom He wishes. And there shouldn’t be any problem when someone insists on satisfying his/her Creator.

Dear brothers and sisters, it is pertinent to remember that Almighty God says in the Holy Qur’an “Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you till you follow their religion. Say: “Verily, the Guidance of Allaah, that is the only Guidance. And if you were to follow their (Jews and Christians) desires after what you have received of knowledge (i.e. the Qur’an), then you would have against Allaah neither any “Wali” (Protector or Guardian) nor any helper.” (Qur’an 2:120)

From our loved ones down to the society, it is believed that adhering to Almighty God’s injunction serves as an hindrance to one’s success in this life. This is believed as a result of ideology of the white man that was imposed on us and has influenced our life to an extent that we have lost our own values. They have molded almost every aspect of our life to suit their own personal interest.

There were several cases where parents would tell their child not to join the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) on campus. They would be reiterating to their child; “don’t join tablig oo, awon omo oni sokoto penpe yen (as they often tag any Muslim brother that keep beards and wear cloth that doesn’t goes beyond ankles or any Muslim sister that wear khimar).”

That’s just because they don’t want their child to become “religion fanatics”. Some parents would tell their children that they had sent them to school not to madrasat (Arabic School) when they noticed some kind of changes in physical appearance of their children. I do not totally blame our parents for being caring for us. Their position is a factor of the fear they nurse that having spent so much on a child, he now accepts to dress in a manner that will disallow him/her to work in a big firm.

To me, it is a fallacy that adhering to Almighty Allaah’s injunction will hinder one’s success in this life. It is just that the lack of support from the necessary people, led us to being left in the dark in our quest to do as our Creator has prescribed. There wouldn’t have been any discrimination and any difference in addressing Muslims and non-Muslims in demanding for justice and equality, if individual’s fundamental rights are being recognised.

To our friends, brothers and sisters from other religion, Nigeria is a multi-religious country. It is pertinent to know that we have to react when our religion fundamental rights are denied. Our demand for jusctice, should not affect the other persons not involved. At least it is her head that wears the hijab, not yours. It is a fallacy to demand an eye for an eye in the search for justice. An injustice cannot justify another. Anyone who feels he is being denied his right should demand for it, rather than standing to be an enemy to Islam. I hope when we stick to this, there will be peaceful coexistence of religions. In another words, the problem of religious intolerance will be a thing of the past.

It is clearly stated in the Holy Qur’an 109: 1-6 “Oh you who turn away
I do not worship what you worship,
nor do you worship what I worship.
And I will not worship what you worship,
Nor will you worship what I worship.
Your way is yours, and my way is mine.”

Abdul-Razaq Ibrahim O. (Al-Haq).


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