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Apex body of Islamic organizations in Nigeria, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), has hailed the Lagos state over its lifting of ban it previously put on the usage of Hijab by female Muslim pupils in the state.
Deputy Secretary-General, NSCIA, Prof. Salisu Shehu, who said this in a statement, also gave knocks to the International School, Ibadan (ISI), owned by the University, for its poor handling of the controversy generated by the use of Hijab in the school.
“It is appalled by the odious stench of religious bigotry and intolerance oozing out from the academic precincts of the premier University of Ibadan,” Shehu said, adding that this “is with regard to the needless acrimony and vendetta, hatred and hubris being brought to the fore on the plight of the young Muslim girls of the International School, Ibadan (ISI), owned by the University.”
In this age and at this stage of our socio-political development, the NSCIA scribe said, “it is highly deplorable and condemnable that the leadership of the foremost academic community where freedom of religion and expression should be held sacrosanct, apart from other freedoms guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Rights document, can lie supine while inanity is made to fester in its International School.” He continued: ‘What has been going on for years at ISI is an affront to refinement and civilisation, which education should impart.
The denial of the Muslim girls of the right to use their hijab is just a ring in a long chain of institutionalised religious discrimination against Muslims in the school, which should ordinarily be a centre of excellence where learning, probity, excellence and character are respected.
“Does ISI belong to a cantankerous Islamophobic religious Association? What hatred and wickedness would make a school management descend so low as to condemn innocent school girls to the blaze of the sun just because of hijab? Where is integrity? Indeed, where is service in a school that makes a claim to “integrity and service” as its motto? “It is ludicrous that the anti- Islamic management of ISI, as available evidence shows, has been violating the rights of the Muslim students for several years through various acts of infraction.
This is why Muslim students, who are boarders, had been compelled to attend Sunday church services for years and had been denied the knowledge of their faith while the school employed Christian Studies teachers before the school was challenged.
That is also why the school management under the watchful eyes of the University of Ibadan engaged in other unbecoming conducts, only reminiscent of the colonial past when Christianity was forced down the throats of unwilling students. According to him, the lesson learnt by conscionable individuals and institutions from the victory of Barrister Firdaos Amosa in being called to the Nigerian bar in July this year, after a resolved misunderstanding caused by the infringement on her right to use hijab in December 2017, is that only those who are living in darkness can deprive willing Muslim girls and women of the use of hijab in schools and work places.
That this execrable height of intolerance and abuse is made to happen actually shows the type of person the principal is, an uninformed and megalomaniac religious bigot whose intent is to provoke religious crisis in the ancient city and the hallowed academic community of the University of Ibadan.
“Now, NSCIA demands that the principal of ISI be sanctioned for dragging the name of the school in the mire and trampling on the rights of her students, against whom the school gate was shut as if they were stray animals.
The Council demands that the University of Ibadan wade into the matter immediately by working together with the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria and the ISI Muslim Parents Forum to grant the students their full rights of wearing hijab, which in anyway does not impede their learning.”