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MURIC decries silence of civil society over hijab matter


Is-haq Akintola

Is-haq Akintola

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has enjoined the civil society organization to wake up from slumber and wake up to it responsibilities of human rights on the struggle for hijab in Osun State.

Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Ishaq Akintola, was deeply perturbed by the silence of civil society on events going on in the state, said it is well known that the assertion of civil liberties is a dividend of democracy and the hijab issue is indubitably a civil liberty matter.

“We therefore find it strange that a vital section that has always been vocal on issues of human rights has chosen to sit on the fence in a matter that has attracted a Tsunami of reactions in the print, electronic and social media,” he said.

Akintola said: “We are particularly shocked by the nonchalance of the feminists. Where are those who claim to promote the rights of Nigerian women? Are they telling us that Muslim women are less feminine than their counterparts in other faiths?

“Are they saying Muslim women have no share in women’s rights? They were quick to condemn early marriage when it involved Muslims and they claimed at the time that they were defending Nigerian women. Why are they silent now when a competent court of law granted the prayer of the Muslim woman to don herself in the veil of decency, the armour of honour and the robe of integrity? Where are they?

“Outspoken and leading lawyers have been uncharacteristically withdrawn and conspicuously mute. A court of law made a watershed pronouncement. In contempt of court, a group of people incited civil disobedience but our lawyers went on sabbatical. The silence of our renowned lawyers on the hijab judgement in the State of Osun speaks volumes. It shows that our lawyers find their voices only for Islam-bashing. This cannot augur well for democracy,” he said.

Akintola however appealed to civil society to speak up, adding that it cannot afford to maintain its deafening silence in the face of Amnesty International’s declaration that hijab is part of human right.

The international human rights agency, he said has authoritatively affirmed that prohibiting hijab ‘would violate the rights to freedom of expression and religion of those women who choose to wear a full face veil as an expression of their religious, cultural, political or personal identity or beliefs’

He described the right to use hijab as an inalienable dividend of democracy.

“The Muslims must be allowed to enjoy this dividend. A law court decision is sacrosanct until it is set aside by a higher court. That is what we call the rule of law, not the rule according to a powerful religious group.

“We aver that human rights activists must have the will to call a spade a spade and the courage to separate the wheat from the chaff no matter whose ox is gored. We must be able to drop primordial sentiments and hold on to the rope of objectivity. We must ignore a victim’s ethnicity, religion, or political party to face the oppressor squarely, look him in the face and tell him the truth. That is when our credibility remains intact. That is when we will be getting it right,” he said.

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  • It is a simple dictate. Do not wear Middle Eastern cultural attire to institutions of learning in Yoruba nation. We are not Arabs, we are Yoruba. Hijab has nothing to do with Islam and Yoruba. Why is that difficult to understand?

  • emmanuel anizoba

    Mr Akintola, as a priest, is a patented rabble-rouser misinterpreting the rules to suit his designs. Placed in proper context, the hijab cannot be an issue. A standard school uniform has been imposed on all who want to attend school and the hijab does not qualify as that uniform. Religion must be kept a private affair between the believer and his/her object of belief. Being anti-Nature, super-natural religion has been and remains a cog in the wheel of human development. So, away with the imposture of super-natural religion masquerading as human right. Cheers!

  • Mojeed A. Amidu

    It is only in Nigeria that people are always more catholic than the Pope. Most of all these so called religious leaders only use religion to weaken the reasoning of their sheepish followers. What is the point promoting the Arab culture at the detriment of our own rich culture? Already, the concept of a Muslim praying only in Arabic language and not his mother tongue is indirectly subjugating the Yoruba culture and Arabizing our psyche. I’ve looked through the entire Koran and unable to find where Muslims are specifically instructed to pray in Arabic language or to wear any kind of attire. Hijab is Arabic culture and not Yoruba culture. To me God is interested in your heart and not your attire. Hijab is nothing but a show and to draw unnecessary attention to oneself. Nigeria will remain backward until we all realise that religion is a personal thing and must not in anyway be a national issue.

    • angel

      The God of islam only understands arabs thats why and it is why the arabs feel they are more islam than anyone in the world. What has hijab wearing got to do with school? Schools have rules and regulation that governs it, uniform is made as part of that rule why break the law in the name of religion? God gave authority to men and breaking the rule of the school is disobeying God, the judge that pass that law in the first place doesnt even know what he is doing. If they allow hijab in schools, will they allow the white garment of cele or aladura or the dressing of babalawo? When a country has no law anything goes but I believe it is time to say no to nonsence that is why this is happening.

  • Adigunr

    @@movic_1964:disqus If you assert that wearing hijab is Arab culture and not Yoruba’, I wonder why not wearing gbariye and dandogo for matriculation and graduation. It is only in Nigeria that people fight over trivial issues. I think both religions need to tolerate each others. People of Nigeria are so religious so much so that you think Nigeria is an angelic nation but are we really doing the things. Every Sunday and Friday church and mosque fill to brim and yet there is moral decadence in the society. The adherent of both religions are guilty of not being tolerance. I remember when I was in primary school we were moved from Muslim school to Jakande school in Matori Mushin. Then the Arabic teacher from my old school was going around to collate the names of the Muslim boys interested in Arabic and Islamic knowledge. Immediately he left, my class teacher who was a christian told us point blank that non of his class pupils would be allowed to do Arabic and IRK despite the school was a public school. In this same vein we used to punished at secondary school which is a public school every morning for not bringing song of praise to the assembly despite the fact I am a Muslim. I am presently a teacher in UK; the Anglican school I did my placement in Liverpool always allowed the Muslim pupils to wear hijab to school. In fact I have attended their carol night in December 2010 which was organised in one of the old church in Liverpool and In attendance were pupils and parents in hijab. Here in Uk my daughter always wear hijab to school without molestation from any quarters. Nigerians need to overgrow this religious hatred and suspicious and start living our life according to the tenet and not showing off like pharisees in Bible.