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IRK, Arabic teachers’ shortage rocks South-West schools

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IRK, Arabic teachers’ shortage rocks South-West schools
  • NACOMYO demands fairness in religious teachers’ employment

 

The public primary and secondary schools in South West states of Nigeria are being rocked with the dearth of teachers for Islamic Religious Knownledge (IRK) and Arabics.

Apex body of Muslims youth in Nigeria,  National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations (NACOMYO), which declared this, mentioned Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, and Ekiti as the affected states.

This came just as the Ogun State government has said that plans are underway to address dearth of Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) and Arabic teachers in public primary and secondary schools in the state.

Odun state coordinator of NACOMYO, Dr. Solih Amolegbe, who lodged the complaint during the Hijrah 1441 AH celebration in Abeokuta, maintained that the issue of imbalance noticed in the employment of IRK and Arabics teachers should be address in the spirit of fairness.

Meanwhile, the Ogun state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, stated that his state had commenced action to address the issue.

The governor, represented at the event by his deputy, Mrs Noimot Salako-Oyedele, said the issue had been brought to the attention of the concerned stakeholders like the Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) and State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and it was being looked into.

“Most of your requests as the National Association of Muslim Youth Organisations (NACOMYO) are already known to us since we took office. I can reliably tell you that the concern that you have with the IRK and Arabic teachers is being looked into by TESCOM and SUBEB to make sure that we have equitable distribution of dividend of democracy,” he said.

The governor hinted at the Okowo-Dapo, a scheme that would give interest-free loans to grass-roots women across the state for business purposes which, he said, would be launched in a few days.

The programme, according to him, is a replica of the Federal Government’s Trader Moni programme and will give a start-up loan of N10,000 and then N100,000 if the applicants are faithful in payment.

“In the next few days, different sectors would start to register in order to take part in this programme,” he said.

Governor Abiodun congratulated the Muslim faithful on witnessing the start of Hijrah 1441 and solicited for support, especially in prayers, in order to achieve his good governance policies.

Earlier in his welcome address, the state coordinator of NACOMYO, Dr Amolegbe, had noted the significance of Hijrah in the lives of Muslims, saying it was an occasion to remind the faithful of the period of steadfastness during the migration of the early Muslims under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad in the face of tribulation of Makkah’s pagans.

He  said NACOMYO, as the apex body and rallying point for all Muslim youth organisations in the state and the country at large, called on Muslim youths in the state to eschew violence and be law abiding citizens so as to enable the government to achieve its statutory responsibilities.

Speaking on the theme of the New Year celebration, “Historical Value of Hijrah on International Integration,” the guest lecturer, Dr Saheed Olurotimi from the Department of Foreign Languages, Lagos State University, emphasised the need for re-education, reorientation and rededication for the achievement of national unity and development.

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1 Comment

  1. Carrol Millstead

    November 13, 2019 at 9:40 am

    very cool

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Islam

2020 Hajj: NAHCON begins license pre-qualification for service providers

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2020 Hajj: NAHCON begins license pre-qualification for service providers

…brings scheme to Nigeria for first time in 8 years

 

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), has, for the First time, Inaugurated Hajj  Committee to Pre-qualify Licensing of Service Providers well ahead of time as a way of fast tracking 2020 Hajj Operation.

This, the commission said, is in 8 years the first time the it is conducting this assignment in Nigeria not Saudi Arabia.

“This is because the process is entirely digitalized, thereby saving cost and consolidating new dawn of transparency and prudence in efficient & effective Hajj Service delivery,” NAHCON said in a document sighted by New Telegraph.

The Committee was inaugurated by NAHCON  Acting Chairman/Chief Executive Officer Barrister Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad at Hajj House Abuja.

Some of the Terms of Reference of the Committee are to practically harness  resource management and eliminate allegations of corruption, to give opportunity to States to have list of companies ready for Inspection and negotiations; and to list names of service providers in Makkah, Madinah and Holy Sites (Masha’er).

Other reasons according to the commission are to Evaluate the documents and confirm integrity of the companies; to ensure no any litigation against any state with NAHCON or Saudi Arabian Authorities; to ensure the companies have valid documents and authorization to conduct this type of business with Nigerian Pilgrims in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The acting Chairman urged the Committee to be guided by fear of God and Pilgrims’ trust in order to secure best services in strict adherence to standards.

The Operations Commissioner Abdullahi Modibbo Saleh, introduced the Committee members.

Director Muhammad Hammajoda is to chair the eleven-member committee and he said they will conduct the job diligently and submit report immediately.

FCT, Oyo and Zamfara states will represent States Pilgrims Welfare Agencies, Boards and Commissions.

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Islam

Yobe gov offers cars, Hajj slots to winners of Qur’an recitation contest

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Yobe state governor, Mai Mala Buni, has donated cars and hajj slots to the winners of the Qur’an recitation competition organized by the Yobe State Arabic and Islamic Education Board in the state.

The winners, according to a report, also went home with other prizes and gifts.

The competition, it was gathered, drew participants from all the 17 local government areas of the state and the winners will represent the state at the national Qur’an recitation competition scheduled to hold in Lagos soon.

Maina Mohammed from Machina Local Government Area was the overall winner in the complete Qur’an and Tajweed, male category.

Malama Halima from Damaturu Local Government Area clinched the first position in the female category with each winner receiving a new Toyota car and an offer to perform hajj from the governor.

Governor Buni, who represented by his deputy, Idi Gubana, at the closing ceremony of the event, advised Muslims to always consider investing in the cause of Allah by rendering services for the good of humanity.

“We should also, as good Muslims, continue to associate ourselves with the noble ideals of the religion by spending our wealth in the promotion of all that is good and beneficial to the larger society and abhorring all that is forbidden,” he said.

The governor charged the winners of the competition to work even harder as they represent the state in the forthcoming national Qur’an recitation competition so that they could have a chance to represent the country at the international level.

“Your impressive performance would, therefore, inspire the upcoming generations and from there, our dream of becoming one of the most respected Islamic centres of learning would be realised.

“As for those participants who could not make it to the national level, I would like to urge them to take heart and work harder for the future,” he said.

The Executive Secretary, Arabic and Islamic Education Board, Mohammed Gujba, thanked the governor for his support which led the successful completion of the competition.

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Islam

2019 Hajj: 3,500 pilgrims get N36.58m refund for poor, unrendered services

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2019 Hajj: 3,500 pilgrims get N36.58m refund for poor, unrendered services

3,500 Nigerian pilgrims from the 2019 Hajj have been reimbursed with N36.582 million for services that are poorly rendered or not rendered to them during the operations.

The pilgrims, checks by New Telegraph showed, are from Kaduna state, NorthWest Nigeria.

The Kaduna state pilgrims board, a report by Hajjreporters read, confirmed the commencement of the payment of the sum of N10,452,32k each to over 3, 500 pilgrims that performed the 2019 hajj from the state.

The Head of Operation, Kaduna State Muslim Pilgrims Board, Alhaji Sani Dalhatu Musa, who confirmed this, added that the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) had already given the refund to the state’s Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board.

“We are starting refund tomorrow and each pilgrim will receive 10,452,32k as the refund of service not rendered which NAHCON has refunded to us,” he said.

Meanwhile, the national hajj commission of Nigeria has released the pilgrim’s registration guidelines for both states Muslim pilgrim’s welfare boards and Tour Operators pilgrim for 2020 hajj.

The new guidelines are to serve as direction for the sales of hajj seat to intending pilgrims that will perform the 2020 hajj seats.

According to NAHCON, “the guidelines were issued with a view to have an effective pilgrim’s database so as to maintain an adequate information system and proper coordination of Nigeria pilgrims in line with the commissions’ mandate”.

Part of the conditions spelt out to private travel operators by the commissions states that “All licensed tour  operators must provide registration centres in their offices and that such registration must be carried out within working hours.”

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Islam

Lagos to host over 1000 delegates for Quran competition

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Lagos to host over 1000 delegates for Quran competition

At least about 1,000 delegates are expected to participate at the 34th National Qur’an recitation competition holding in Lagos State.

Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Otunba AbdulFatahi Olukoga, who disclosed this, said that Lagos State being the cosmopolitan state, is fully ready to organise the Qur’an recitation competition like other states of the federation that had successfully hosted the highly rewarding competition.

Olukoga, who described the competition tagged “Lagos for Qur’an 1441 (2020)” as annual event that brings together Muslim youths who have committed the Qur’an to memory from all the states of the federation including the federal capital territory, said that Lagos was doing everything possible to make the hosting of the  annual competition successful.

According to him, the winner of the national competition would represent Nigeria at various international competitions which hold in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and other Muslim countries, adding that it was interesting to note that Nigeria had emerged the first in the international competition.

Noting that Lagos has last hosted the competition since 1992,  Olukoga, a former Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Education, said that part of the  challenges of hosting the competition in Lagos are that  the  influx  and the caliber of people coming into the state  for the competition  are usually intimidating  enough to engineer  provision for their stay  during the competition and  that the competition has grown enough to draw government attention awareness.

He explained that the competitions were in different categories with star prizes ranging from brand new cars, tricycles, cash and other consolation prizes for the winners and runner ups in the competition that will kick off on the 27th of December, 2019 and end on 4th of January 2020.

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Islam

NAHCON reads riot act to state pilgrims’ boards, tour operators

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NAHCON reads riot act to state pilgrims’ boards, tour operators

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has read the riot act to States’ Muslim pilgrims welfare board in Nigeria over fear of improper utilization of funds for Hajj and Umrah services.

The commission also warned Licensed Tour Operators over high number of complaints received from 2019 pilgrims on services being rendered not being commensurate with package paid for, stated that it would look into the complaints.

Giving this hint in a statement, NAHCON declared that the pilgrims boards must also run separate accounts for Hajj and Umrah.

Stating its readiness to monitor the accounts of Hajj operators, NAHCON maintained in a statement by Head of Public Affairs Unit, Fatima Sanda Usara, that it would “ensure full compliance and proper utilization of the funds.”

The commission also gave a green light to states Muslim pilgrims welfare board in Nigeria to venture into Umrah operations in order to boost their revenue profiles.

The go-ahead was given during the “NAHCON’S review meeting Of 2019 Hajj and first preparatory meeting On 2020 Hajj In Hajj House with SPWB/A/Cs and Licensed Tour Operators,” the statment5 read.

Usara said that “Part of the agreement reached at the meeting according is that SPWBs will be allowed to conduct Umrah operations to boost their revenue generation at the state level.

However, NAHCON urges state pilgrims boards to ensure that they utilise qualified staffs for the Umrah operation.

“They must have dedicated and certified staff to run the Umrah services. They must also run separate accounts for Hajj and Umrah and NAHCON will monitor the accounts to ensure full compliance and proper utilization of the funds,” Usara said.

The statement read; “The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, (NAHCON) held its review meeting of 2019 Hajj and first preparatory meeting on 2020 Hajj firstly on Thursday, 24th October 2019 with Chief Executives of Pilgrims’ Welfare Boards/Agencies/Commissions. Those in attendance, apart from the two stakeholders earlier mentioned, were NAHCON Board members, its executive officers and management staff.  The Commission’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Barrister Abdullah Mukhtar Muhammad chaired both review meetings.

“The gatherings generally acknowledged the improvements made in the 2019 Hajj operations and in order to sustain the successes so far achieved, there was a call to maintain the spirit of teamwork and consultations. Also both gatherings congratulated NAHCON for moving into its new office. They described the building as a prestige to Hajj operations in Nigeria and good legacy of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The following are some of the issues discussed. On Makkah/Madina accommodation it was agreed that funds for booking of lodgings would be deposited early and directly to building owners for cheaper bargains. During operations, each state must deploy a minimum of one official to Madinah in advance of its pilgrims’ arrival for smoother coordination.”

On the issue of Masha’ir: in reference to the retreat in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa, the Commission lamented the several requests for extension of deadline for registration as compounding the Mina congestion problem.

“Therefore NAHCON cautioned both state boards and Licensed Tour Operators to abide by early registration and to stick to deadlines. The Commission assured that if this arrangement is respected, there is certainty that service providers in Saudi Arabia will reserve adequate space for pilgrims as requested in a formal communication.

“It is in relation to this that the Commission approved status quo to be maintained on remittance of Hajj fare; deadline for closure of registration will be announced in due course. Intending pilgrims are to deposit about N1.5m in three instalments to their states’ pilgrims’ boards in bank draft.”

As for Licensed Tour Operators, due to number of complaints received from pilgrims on services being rendered not being commensurate with package paid for, the commission said that measures have been taken to ensure that the package a pilgrim pays for is what will be served to them.

“Towards this, the Commission will define types of packages available and cost of each. The packages will be publicised in the mass media. Consequent upon this, state boards and Licensed Tour Operators must register all their pilgrims on the e-portal and particulars of the intending pilgrim be supplied on the portal. The Commission will not tolerate pilgrims being registered on portals other than that which it is created for. This deviation has hitherto remained an impediment to reliable data bank for security reasons, research and reference purposes.

“Similarly, Tour Operators have up to November 30th to submit online application forms for 2020 Hajj license to avoid disqualification.”

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Islam

Boko Haram not Islamic sect, group tells media

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Boko Haram not Islamic sect, group tells media

Media organizations in Nigeria and abroad should desist from addressing Boko Haram insurgents as Islamic sect, an international group, the Organisation of Islamic Conference (IOC), has said.

What the Boko Haram members do, a document of the IOC sighted by New Telegraph on Thursday showed, is “a criminal act; it has absolutely nothing to do with Islam.”

Secretary General of the group, Eyad Madani, had earlier said during a three-day visit to Nigeria that activities of Boko Haram “are anti-Islam.”

The IOC scribe said: “The OIC has issued statements that … these people are outlaws. What they do is criminal act, it has absolutely nothing to do with Islam, Islamic teachings, the religion of Islam, the history, the culture, the civilization of Islam and we should identify them for what they are: as a terrorist group.”

The group in the new document reiterated that it is solidly behind Nigeria in its fight against insurgents.

We are also here to express our solidarity with Nigeria in facing up to this terrorist organisation and to condemn all terrorist acts they have been committing, and to show our condolences to the Nigerian people, to the families of those who were affected,” the IOC said.

Fielding questions from newsmen during his last visit to Nigeria Mr. Madani said the OIC delegation discussed its visions and priorities with the Nigerian government.

The organization, Madani said, intimated the President on what the OIC could do in terms of expressing its support, and its willingness to be actively involved in the war against the terrorist group.

When asked what concrete support Nigeria should expect from OIC, the Secretary General said since the crisis is multi-dimensional, OIC could be involved in many ways.

He said one of the ways OIC could be involved, is to “first to declare its position morally, to declare its position from the religious point of view.”

He said the conference is not a religious group, but a political organisation that has 57 member states, and each state is represented in the conference as a government.

“Nigeria is a member of OIC at the government level, so is Indonesia, so is Senegal, Saudi Arabia amongst others.

“But it has to express its concerns about the misuse of Islam morally and ethically. We are willing to do that if Nigerian government would allow us to.

“We will convene an inter-faith dialogue, because we feel that there is a lot to be said about the veracity of these (Boko Haram) claims, and to show the many aspects of similarities and living together between not only Christians and Muslims, but between all faiths and convictions,” he said.

He said Africa is a model of such tolerance, and its history is a history of tolerance, and that of living together. He added that the OIC, through its different organs, is available to the request of the federal government and would do all it could to help in alleviating the social and economic conditions in any area affected by the activities of insurgents.

The Federal Government, in a reaction to IOC’s stand noted; “the fact that the OIC has expressed its position of support and understanding at this hour of our challenges goes to show that OIC is playing its role to support any of its member states who had any problem, either socially, economically, religiously or otherwise.

“So this is something that should be a message to every Nigerian that OIC is a body that is willing and eager to come to the aid of its member states as is being known and explained by the secretary general.”

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Islam

Zakat Foundation surges beneficiary states to 21

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Z

akat and Sadaqat Foundation (ZSF) has said that it surged the number of states where Zakat was distributed from 17 in 2018 to 21 this year.

The foundation also said that it disbursed N220 million to over 2,647 beneficiaries.

Executive Director of the Foundation, Mr Sulaiman Olagunju, who, according to a statement, said this at the grand finale of Zakat distribution in Lagos State, maintained that the “organisation had empowered 2,647 people amounting to over N220 million under its 2019 Zakat distribution.”

“I am pleased to inform that the sum of N167,374,712 is being distributed to 1,664 beneficiaries in Lagos State to formally end this year’s Zakat distribution that began in June across the nation.

“The amount being disbursed here today is about N25 million more than that of last year that stood at N142,938,905 in the state,” Olagunju was quoted to have said.

The executive Director continued; “With the support of Zakat payers and other well-spirited individuals, the foundation was able to increase the number of states where Zakat was distributed from 17 in 2018 to 21 this year.”

According to him, in 2019, the four new states where the foundation distributed Zakat funds in 2019 were Kogi, Nazarawa, Niger and Zamfara.

“It is noteworthy that despite the economic situation of the country, we were able to move up Zakat collection from N318,152,130 at the end of October 2018 to N325,346,697 as at September 2019.

“The amount of Zakat disbursed so far this year, including the one being distributed today across the 21 states, stands at N220,348,391 to 2647 beneficiaries.

“This show a slight increase of about N16 million above last year’s disbursement.’’

Ayedun Aisha, a 200 level student of Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka, Lagos receiving a motorised wheelchair from Zakat & Sadaqat Foundation on Sunday in Lagos.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Foundation, Dr Tajudeen Yusuf, said that the collection and distribution of Zakat “is an obligation that all Muslims owe to Allah.

“In the same vein, we as recipients, must see this as an opportunity to improve our circumstance from being needy to being on the path of prosperity.’’

Yusuf said that the activities of the foundation, as an NGO, is geared towards contributing to he nation-building.

“Just like being experienced in the conventional tax collection, there is need to widen the Zakat payer bracket.

“There are still many able Muslims, who may not know that a foundation like ours exists who collect and distribute Zakat.

“It is, therefore, the duty of our current payers to introduce us to these categories of Muslims,’’ he said.

Also speaking at the occasion, Dr Abdullah Shuaib, Executive Director of Jaiz Charity Foundation, called for collaboration between the Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation and Lagos State Government towards alleviating poverty among the populace.

He urged the foundation to liaise with the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in this regard.

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Islam

How Hajj commission coughed out N2.4bn for Abuja office construction

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F

resh fact has emerged on how the National Hajj Commussion of Nigeria raised N2.4 billion out of the total sum of N2.987 billion spent for the construction of its new Headquarters in Abuja. .

The facility, a document of NAHCON sighted by New Telegram showed, cost the commission N2.4 billion, representing 97.6 per cent of the total amount, while the Federal Government allocated N587 million representing, 2.4 per cent for the construction.

Head of the public affairs division of NAHCON, Fatima Usara, had, while confirming the development to newsmen, said the new office facility was located at Zakaria Maimalari Street, Central Business District Abuja.

The commission, Usara said, spent N2.4 billion, representing 97.6 per cent of the total amount.

The Federal Government, she added, allocated N587 million representing, 2.4 per cent.

The amount, she said, was raised by NAHCON through savings and internally generated revenue.

“The Federal Executive Council had in June 2017 approved the purchase of the building to serve as the permanent headquarters of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria NAHCON,” the document, which was validated by Usara read.

The commission had been operating in a temporary office since its establishment in 2006.

Meanwhile, four Muslim organisations have congratulated the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on its relocation to its permanent office.

The Islamic organisations also praised President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership style which they said culminated in infusing financial discipline, self-reliance drive and efficient service delivery in hajj administration in the last five years.

The commission had on Tuesday formally relocated to the permanent headquarters, Hajj House, formerly Metro Plaza, in Abuja. The property was acquired in 2017.

According to NAHCON’s tweeter handle, which was monitored by newsmen in Abuja, the relocation started a fortnight ago.

The Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN), Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria (MMWG), Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), and Media Awareness Initiative for Hajj (MAIHAJ) said they were proud of “this great feat” recorded by the apex hajj regulating body in the country.

In a statement signed by Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Ibrahim Abdullahi, Ibrahim Muhammed and Abdullahi Adamu for MMPN, MMWG, IHR and MAIHAJ, respectively, the organisations described the development as a testament to the quality of the leadership at the hajj commission.

The property, which is now NAHCON’s corporate headquarters, consists of conference halls, boardrooms and a training centre and two annexes which NAHCON said would be rented out for revenue generation towards achieving financial autonomy.

“We congratulate the entire Muslim Ummah, hajj stakeholders and the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria for relocating to the Hajj House (formerly known as Metro Plaza) which now serves as the permanent head office for hajj and umrah-related affairs in Nigeria.

“The purchase of the Metro Plaza by a non-revenue generating agency shows a high level of financial discipline and vision on the part of the leadership of the commission.

“Relocation to the new gigantic office will create conducive atmosphere for the staff of the commission, thereby raising their output for the benefit of pilgrims, reduce the money spent by the commission in renting halls to host meetings, seminars and conferences and also serve as sources of revenue for the commission.

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Islam

MSSN demands better safety, security for girl-child

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MSSN demands better safety,  security for girl-child

The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) has advocated the strengthening of safety and security for girls across the world against exploitation, dehumanisation and other forms of unfair treatment.

The association particularly condemned all acts of violation of the rights of Muslim girls in Nigeria and demanded the immediate end to the acts.

The MSSN made the advocacy and condemnation in a statement by its National Public Relations Officer, AbdulAzeez Oladejo, in respect of this year’s edition of the International Day of the Girl Child.

It noted that in 2012, the United Nations set aside the date as the International Day of the Girl Child to highlight and address the needs and challenges the girl child and promote their empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.

But the group expressed regrets that while the world was making a steady progress towards realising this goal, some people had continued to consciously victimise, exploit and dehumanise girls.

According to the MSSN, the ability of the United Nations to further stipulate appropriate sanctions for perpetrators of such deviant activities will go a long way in safeguarding the female children.

The statement reads in part: “To us as Muslim students, a day like this is important as it reminds us that there are people who are still committed to the lofty goal of raising the status of the girl-child as espoused by Islam.

“It also tells us that there are concerted efforts against the perpetration of deviant activities (like gender inequality, forced labour, forced marriage, humiliating cultural practices, denial of right to education and denial of right to inheritance) against the girl-child in third world countries, including Nigeria.

“Most importantly, this day reminds us of the traumatic experiences of the Muslim girls across the country because of their resolve to exhibit their fundamental human rights of using hijab as they pursue their education; from nine-year old Aisha AbdulAleem in Ogun State to Muslim girls in Lagos State and those at the International School, Ibadan. This calls for action because ensuring the rights and safe space for the girls should be beyond rhetoric.

“We use the occasion of this year’s edition of the International Day of the Girl Child to condemn all acts of violation of rights of Muslim girl across the country, while assuring all those who are currently experiencing any form of victimisation that Allah’s help is indeed near.”

“We also wish that the Muslim girl should be motivated by the theme for this year’s International Day of the Girl Child (Girl Force: Unscripted, Unstoppable) and know that the Muslim girl is simply unscripted and unstoppable.”

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Rites in Islam not based on Qur’an, Sunnah sophistry, delusion –Don

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professor of Middle Eastern, North African and Cultural Studies, Afis Oladosu, has declared that any religion rite that is not based on Quran and Hadith is indulgence in sophistry and delusion.

Oladosu, Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan, who said this in a document sighted by New Telegraph juxtaposed the Ashura celebrations between the Sunni and Shia Muslim sects against the ideals of Islam and the tradition of Prophet Muhammad.

“It is settled in orthodox Islam that the day of Ashura, which is derived from the Arabic word ‘Ashr’, meaning ‘ten’, is the 10th day of the first month (Muharram) of the Islamic lunar year. The counting of this calendar began in Islamic history with the migration of the Prophet of Islam from Makkah to Madinah in 622 CE.

“It is related in Islamic tradition that consequent upon his arrival to Madinah, Prophet Muhammad discovered that the Jews were in the habit of observing the 10th and 11th days of Muharram as fasting in commemoration of the many wondrous blessings they received from the Almighty in history, including the favour He granted to them when He delivered them from the captivity of Pharaoh in Egypt,” he said.

The Prophet, according to him, recommended fasting on this day, the 10th and the day before, ninth, based on the argument that Muslims were equally worthy heirs and partakers of the eternal blessings of the Almighty to Prophet Musa and the Jews. Fasting these two days is, however, not obligatory (fard).

“However, the Shia have since 680 CE upped the scale and invested the event with more significance beyond the tradition bequeathed to Muslims by the Prophet of Islam. They have seized upon the killing of Hussayn bn Ali by the army of the Ummayad ruler in Islamic history, Yazid, during a battle over political power and supremacy. Coincidentally, the event of the killing of Hussayn happened in the month of Muharram of the year.

“Thus, as far as orthodox Muslims are concerned, the Shia rituals during these days, the acts of mourning, of self-flagellation with chains and blades and of walking over burning charcoals to remember the sufferings of Hussayn supposedly went through, are all null and void. Any ritual that has no referential framework from the Qur’an and the tradition of the Prophet are nugatory and are indulgence in sophistry and delusion,” he said.

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