The Lagos State Area Council of Muslim Students Society of Nigeria has reaffirmed its commitment to aggressively fight bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice against female Muslims for wearing hijab in Lagos schools.
Amirah (Female President) of the faith-based Students’ association, Hajia Basheerah Majekodunmi stated this at the press conference held to mark the 2019 edition of the World Hijab Day.
Founded by Nazma Khan, a New York native, the World Hijab Day is a global annual event usually marked on February 1st. The year 2019 edition themed: “Breaking Stereotypes, Shattering Boundaries” with the hashtag #FreeInHijab marks its 7th edition.
Hajia Basheerah informed that thousands of female Muslims will be holding awareness rally across Lagos State today Friday February 1, 2019 to sensitise Muslims and non-Muslims on the use of hijab and its significance.
She lamented that law-abiding female Muslims have to face series of persecution and assault in the defence of their faith, honour and chastity.
She said “Muslim women are facing very tough times for wishing to defend their faith and shunning nudity. In the hands of government officials, especially teachers in public schools, our members are regular victims of physical and verbal assaults. The recent one being the slapping of a female Muslim student at Ikosi High School by an official of West African Examination Council (WAEC) for resisting to pull off her hijab. In fact, she was forced to wear beret. Other cases abound from Agbede Community Grammar School and Yewa Grammar School in Ikorodu, to Iba Estate Senior High School in Ojo. These cases are being taken up by our lawyers.”
She however warned on further reminisces on several legal engagements on the issues of Hijab. She said “The Appeal Court granted us all the reliefs we sought at the lower court and pronounced on our inalienable right to adorn the hijab not only in public secondary schools but in all spheres of education and life. In November 2018, the Lagos State Government issued a circular to all principals of public secondary schools instructing them to allow students, who want to wear the hijab on their uniforms do so. By this Circular, the Government has exonerated itself from any potential contempt of the Appeal court judgement. The Circular advised the teaching officers to be mindful of banning Hijab as it would amount to contempt of an existing judgement. The Circular also advised that the Hijab must be short, smart, neat and in the colour of the school uniform (skirt).”
According to Amirah Basheerah, this were not to be as she said some school authorities and some defiant teachers are working against the circular.
She added “Rather than obey the circular, some school principals, vice principals and teachers feign ignorance of the approval of Hijab in Lagos State, refreshed their Islamophobic agenda and desperately began to deal with our members. Many of them have also deliberately expressed putrid hatred for hijab by discriminating and molesting the Muslim students in Hijab.”
While calling on WAEC to caution its official to put a stop their harassment of Female Hijab wearing students, Hajia Basheerah advised the government at all levels to criminalise assaults against people wearing hijab as it is an important of female dressing in Islam .
“This discrimination is too much, and it has to stop! The government has to criminalize assaults against people wearing hijab. The ugly incidents of harassments against hijab-wearing Muslims have assumed its peak, and it’s causing us gross emotional trauma and stigma. It cannot continue like this! The defaulters have to face the wrath of the law, Hajia Basheerah advised”