A Muslim youth group has condemned the recent ban on Hijabs in public schools in Lagos.
The National Council of Muslim youth organisations, NACOMYO, Lagos State chapter has rejected the ban on the use of Hijab in the Lagos state public schools by the state government.
The commissioner of education, Olayinka Oladunjoye, had announced the ban recently.
“The state has banned the use of Hijab in public schools, that the student can only wear hijab during Salat – Muslim prayer, or when they want to read the Qur’an.
“That any parent who wishes that his/her child must wear hijab should take such child to a Muslim private school,” the commissioner had stated.
But NACOMYO said in a statement signed by the State coordinator and publicity secretary, Abdul Fattah Ibn Raji and Moshood B. Abdul –Wasi, on Monday that the ban as announced by the Lagos State government is discriminatory.
The group said it shows “the hypocritical nature of the state government, but equally represents a lack of a common sense of duty and an attempt by the government to neglect the basic duty of governance of providing egalitarian society where human virtues and dignity are allowed to thrive”.
NACOMYO said it finds it “repulsive that a government will be so insensitive and wishes that anybody who is displeased with this obnoxious policy should go to Muslim schools in flagrant disregard to public justice and fairness to the large population of Muslims in the state”.
The group said the government’s pronouncement “is not only condemnable but also unacceptable by the Muslims in the state”.
ACN is anti-Islam
The group accused the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in the state as running an anti-Islam policy.
“You will recall that most of the ACN led government policies have always been anti Islam since inception of office.
“The Mosque demolition at the state secretariat and the unfulfilled promises of building another ultra-modern one is still fresh.
“The hatred of Fashola led government is amply noticed in his failure to attend any Islamic programme, where as he is usually seen in other programmes outside of Islam,” the group alleged in its statement.
What is wrong with Hijab?
NACOMYO said it is puzzled that such a policy is being pursued by the Lagos state government, as according to them wearing the hijab poses no threat to the “cooperate integrity of the school and the state”.
“Does the wearing of hijab in anyway hinder proper assimilation in the school?” the group asked.
“How can this government explicate the contradictions between the wearing of hijab and skimpy dresses in the school system? Or do the concepts of modernity and freedom preclude fair dealings in ACN parlance?
NACOMYO compared the Lagos policy against hijab with other obtainable in the world.
“In the most advanced democracies like United Kingdom, the Muslim police women are allowed to wear their hijab and even in South Africa, one is not discriminated on the basis of religion.
“NACOMYO and all the Muslims state it unequivocally that the wearing of hijab by our Muslim children in public schools and elsewhere is their religious duty that cannot be contradicted or taken away by hatred or volition of any government, it is even not negotiable,” the group said.
Appeal for retraction
NACOMYO urged the state government to refrain from depriving Muslims the right to practice their religion and retract the ban as it will be in the interest of peace and fairness.
“The situation in the public school which is for both Muslims and Christians is unfavourable to Muslims with regards to how assemblies are conducted in Christian way, to the dressing code in the school, and the content of teaching which in most cases do not include Islamic religion studies”.
“It is rather unfortunate that anyone will refer Muslims to go to Muslim schools instead of doing the right thing, government should wake up to her avowed duties of fairness and peaceful conduct of affairs, and make sure all these issues are given adequate and swift attention they required, because what is sauce for the goose should equally sauce for the gander,” the group said.