Thank you gentlemen of the press for honouring our call.
We view this as a sign of your commitment to societal development. We pray Allah reward you abundantly for you effort.
We are here today to commemorate a day globally set aside to mark what we regard as our PRIDE, the Hijab.
As I speak to you right now, the World Hijab Day is being celebrated in 116 countries of the world and over 1,000,000 places across the globe.
February 1st, 2013, marked the first annual World Hijab Day in recognition of millions of Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab and live a life of modesty.
It is also in recognition of Sister Marwa El Sherbini who was stabbed to death in a German court of law by Alex Wiens in Dresden on February 1st, 2009 for no other offence than wearing of Hijab. This happened in the presence of her husband who was also shot by the police that mistook her for the criminal.
This year’s theme is: “Better Awareness; Greater Understanding; Peaceful World;” and the goal is: to foster global religious tolerance through Hijab awareness. The movement, started by a New York resident, Nazma Khan is to foster religious tolerance and understanding by inviting women (Muslims/non-Muslims) to experience the Hijab for one day.
For many people, the Hijab is a symbol of oppression and segregation. But by opening up new pathways to understanding the concept of Hijab, the event hopes to neutralize some of the controversies surrounding why Muslim women choose to wear the Hijab.
Gentlemen of the press, you will agree with me that the state of immorality in our society is alarming; the rate at which teenage and unwanted pregnancies occur is worrisome, the culture of nudity and bestiality is being glorified and nudity-induced rape cases are fast getting out of hand. An estimated 16 million girls between the age of 14-18 fall victim on yearly basis to these avoidable tragedies.
The concept of morality being expressed in our contemporary world is that no part of a woman is private. It posits that a woman can only exercise her fundamental human rights when she adopts shameless western mode of fashion. It, at the same time tags those who chose to be chaste, moderate and pristine in their outlook as uncivilised and not modern.
What is considered as fashionable and trending is the mode of dressing which unveils female erogenous zones in the name of liberty, freedom and permissiveness.
Fashion can be modern without necessarily crossing the boundary of nudity. We support civilization but not nudity.
Hijab is an apparel of honour, a garment of modesty and a shield against immorality. It is our pride. It is our dignity. Please allow us use it.
So, who is afraid of Hijab?
Nigeria’s constitution grants Freedom of Religion, Conscience and Expression. It states clearly the rights to wear anything one feels comfortable with, so far as it is neither provocative nor irresponsible.
We therefore use this opportunity to call on the Lagos State Government not to politicise the issue of Hijab.
Our appeal goes to Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola to consider our demand on the issue of Hijab. We are neither seeking for a favour nor asking for a privilege; we are simply demanding our rights. This is an opportune time for our amiable Governor to write his name in gold by simply do the needful. It is a wave; a wind of change which no one can stop; for if he refuses to grant it, another rights-conscious administrator will definitely grant it, it is a matter of time!
It is important to note here that Hijab has been granted by Muslim minority states, how much more Lagos State with Muslim majority.
We therefore urge our Governor to do the right thing by allowing us exercise our fundamental human rights to be modest in our appearance.
It remains a paradox, an antithesis of our era. Or how else will Governor Fashola, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, well versed in the matters of law deny Muslim students, whose parents are tax-payers, their divinely-ordained and constitutionally-guaranteed rights.
It still baffles us that while a Christian Governor in South-West Nigeria is aiding Allah’s work, a Muslim Governor in the same region is frustrating it!
We thus urged Governor Fashola to emulate his Ekiti State counterpart, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who recently permits the use of Hijab and prohibits discrimination against Muslim Students who use Hijab in State public schools.
Permit me to simply touch on the current Hijab case before the Ikeja High Court. For sure, we will never rest till we get justice. The government cannot frustrate us with their delay tactics, we will see the case to a successful end, Insha Allah.
The case was adjourned for the fifth time, most of which came on the applications by government’s counsel.
We want to state categorically clear here that as law abiding citizens, we approach the court because we do not subscribe to violence, but it appears the authorities are pushing us to the wall. Our members seem to be running out of patience. Please do not force them to take to extra legal means in an attempt to realise their justifiable rights.
We do not understand the fear of Lagos State Government on the use of Hijab in our schools. If others have the right to put on uniforms that are in conformity with their religions, why can’t Muslims enjoy the same right?
It is pertinent to state here that the present sets of uniform were designed by the colonial masters who are Christians.
Hence, Christians are not complaining because it suits their religion. We are complaining, we are incomplete without it.
It also important to note that we are not calling for the Hijab to be compelled on students, our demand is simply: permit Hijab and discriminate not against nor victimise the Hijabites.
The issue of Islamising Lagos schools does not hold any ground since the mode of dressing in all government schools is already Christine.
As we join millions of people, both Muslim and non-Muslims all over the world to celebrate this great event, we strongly appeal to the leadership of the party to intervene in this matter, else we may be forced to mobilise the entire Nigerian Muslim Students to vote against any anti-Islam government come 2015.
Enough of playing politics with our morality. Enough of playing politics with our dignity. Enough of playing politics with our rights.
As tax payers and citizens of Lagos State, we want Hijab in our schools, we want the constitution to be respected, as this does not mitigate other people’s rights and privileges in any way.
Muslims students, do you all want the Hijab in our schools?
Do you all want the Hijab as part of school uniform in our schools?
Do you all want the Lagos State Government to respect the constitution and give us our rights?
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Long Live the Lagos State Government!!
Long Live the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria!!!
Thank you and Allah bless you all.
Amirah (Female President)
Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State Area Unit.