Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Sultan of Sokoto and Present-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has enjoined Muslims in the six states in the South West of Nigeria not to take the law into their hands as they pursue the use of hijabs by Muslim female students in primary and secondary schools in the zone.
He disclosed this in his address during the formal opening session of the fourth general assembly of Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN), with the tagline: “Muslim Unity and Contemporary Political Challenges in Nigeria,” held at the conference hall, University of Ibadan Mosque Complex, Ibadan on Sunday.
According to him, “Islam is under a serious challenge. There is a lot of controversies going on in Nigeria concerning the use of hijab by Muslim students in their various schools. We are laws abiding, there will be no peace the moment we pick up arms to attack anybody, and where there is no peace, there can never be stability of development. In anywhere in the world, and where there is no peace or development, we cannot worship Allah.
“I call on all Ummah in Oyo State and South West at large, facing this challenge to be law abiding in front of the rule of law. It is unfortunate that issues like these are happening, and people continue to escalate this issue just to embarrass Muslim leaders,” he said.
“All of you should be patient because Allah want you to be patient. What ever happens to you as a Ummah, let us count it as a challenge, it is for us to wake up from our too much slumber because we have not been doing what we supposed to be doing.
“We are divided on ethnicity line and even as a Muslim brothers, the division among us is even worse than the inter-religions. If we understand ourselves and do the right thing, and will continue to add our voice towards the nation building, we shall come out victorious at the end of the day
“I am very passionate about education, as a Muslim leader, we are doing all what we can do to find solution to this issue. There is a freedom of religion in the Constitutions of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So, nobody should be stopped from using hijab. People are free to do any religion they want. We have been practising this religion over century ago, if court is taking too long to resolve the issue with constitution, then, it means that political is in it and our political leaders must know that they should not take false as right. Most of the commotion happening in the country today is caused by politics.”
In the keynote address he presented on the theme of the general assembly, Muibi Opeloye, a professor of Islamic Studies and Chairman of Education Committee of MUSWEN, noted that in a bid to make democracy bring about good governance that would be beneficial to the people and impact positively on the society, it must imbibe applicable Islamic political principles.
Prince Bola Ajibola, who is the chairman, board of trustees of MUSWEN, in his opening remarks, which was read by Chairman, Muslim Community of Oyo State, Alhaji Kunle Sanni, said MUSWEN has “an obligation to complement the efforts of the government at all levels and work with our partners across religious and ethnic divides, we must always stand on the side of justice, unity and peace. MUSWEN must remain above parochial interests and divisive tendencies.”
Executive Secretary of MUSWEN, Prof Dawud Noibi, earlier in his welcome address, urged the general assembly of the organisation to take a critical look at how best the issue of the “yet-to-be resolved discrimination against the use of hijab in public institutions could be addressed in the interest of Islam and for the peace of the nation.
“It is sad that cases on discrimination against the use of hijab by female Muslim students in public schools are at different stages of litigation in Lagos, Osun, Ogun and Oyo States. Nevertheless, we acknowledge and deeply appreciate the liberal attitude of some state governments towards the use of hijab by our daughter in public schools. We equally salute our brothers and sisters whobrisk everything in order to make sure that our rights are not trampled upon.”