A coalition of Muslim organisations on Tuesday, 1 February, 2022, said there was a “sinister design” to frustrate the education of Muslim girl-child.
They are: Nasrul-lahi-li Fathi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT); Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) Lagos state Area Unit; Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) Lagos State chapter; Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC); Lagos Secretariat Community Central Mosque (LSCCM); Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC); Pristine Cactus Foundation; The Criterion; Al Muminaat (The Believing Women) Organisation; Guild of Muslim Professionals (GMP); International Muslim Women Union (IMWU); Pure Heart Islamic Foundation (PHF) Lagos State chapter; Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative; National Council of Muslim Youths Organisations (NACOMYO); Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN); Obafemi Awolowo University Muslim Graduates Association (UNIFEMGA); Islamic Medical Association of Nigeria (IMAN) and Women in Dawah.
The coalition, however, urged the President, state Governors, the National Assembly and state Assembly members as well as the Judiciary and all regulatory authorities “to uphold the provisions of the constitution and also other relevant laws, to ensure that Hijab wearing Muslim Women are not harassed and discriminated against.”
Executive Director, Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, Hajia Mutiat Orolu-Balogun who addressed newsmen on behalf of other 20 Islamic organisations however declared that they would not be complacent and back down in their advocacy against discriminating of Hijab wearing Muslim women.
She lamented that 10 years after the commemoration of World Hijab Day commenced and the various efforts made by the coalition, the discrimination still continues.
Orolu-Balogun stated that as they resolve one case of Hijab in a local government, another case still rears its ugly head.
According to her, while the organisation had written to several agencies of government and parastatals, some of them would not respond to their letters.
She said, “It is common knowledge that when Muslim women are found at the lower strata of the society, or are uneducated, no one pays attention to how they are dressed.
“However, we find most opposition to when Muslim women and girls want to get an education, employment or public services open to all citizens their Hijab is in question. I cannot but agree with quote that “The consistent denial of Muslim girls’ Right to Hijab seems to follow a grand and sinister design to discourage Muslim girls from Education by those who wanted them permanently at the background so as not to contribute positively to family, community, National and Global development’.
“This can be the only logical conclusion one can reach when some Federal Government colleges like Queens College and many government owned schools still ask Muslim girls to choose between their faith and getting educated; both of which are not mutually exclusive.
“The principals of these schools have ascribed unholy power unto themselves and have defied law, court judgments and good conscience and even the laws setting them up, by denying the right to wear the Hijab by these students.
Despite all these challenges, Muslim women and girls have worked three times as hard, shown commitment and resilience and are now trailblazing in their chosen fields.”
The coalition however called for a re-orientation of Nigerians on their Rights and that of other citizens must be carried out by the relevant agency as a matter of urgency.
They also asked the President to compel all regulatory authorities and bodies to prevent their staff and agents from discriminating against Hijab wearing Muslim women and refusing them services because of the Hijab and adding punitive measures in order to forestall this issue from recurring exponentially.
“We must build an all-inclusive society and not require a Muslim girl or Woman to choose between her faith and education or positive contribution to the society,” the coalition added.