Prof Lakin Akintola said his organisation, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is not backing out of its quest to secure the Hijrah holiday for Nigerian Muslims.
In a chat with Muslim News, the Professor of Islamic Eschatology said: “We stand by our demand for the declaration of 1st Muharram as Hijrah Day. We remind the Federal Government of our press statement issued on January 3, 2018, in which we called attention to its declaration of 1st January every year as a holiday for Nigerian Christians.
“We demanded the recognition of 1st Muharram of every year for Muslims. It must be emphasized that Islamic organizations (not MURIC alone) have been making this demand through petitions and appeals dating back to the 60s, but successive administrations have turned the deaf ear to their pleas.
“We demand parity. If it is true that Nigeria is not for any particular religion; if it is also true that the FG has been declaring 1st January of every year, which is the 1st day of the Christian year, as a holiday for decades; then the FG as the father of all must recognize 1st Muharram as the first day of the Islamic year. A good and responsible father must treat his children equally.
“As it stands today, the holidays are tilted in favour of Christians. Muslims are marginalized. MURIC rejects this lopsided arrangement. It cannot forge unity. Neither can it guarantee peace. It is only equal rights and justice that can ensure lasting peace.
“1st January is a Westo-Christian day and its recognition by the FG is one of the reasons we allege that Nigeria is heavily Christianised. We want 1st Muharram of every year to be declared for Muslims too. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. The FG must not be partial. Muslims have been making this demand for years, but the FG keeps ignoring them.
“What does this portend? Is the FG telling us that Muslims do not matter in the scheme of things? Regime after regime turns deaf ears to our cries. Is it only violence and demonstrations that the FG understands? We remind the FG that conscious and deliberate peace-making is cheaper than running up and down in search of weapons to defeat insurgents.
“1st January is from the Gregorian calendar, and it is a product of gymnastic make-belief and historic hocus-pocus that the British Christian colonialists imposed on Nigerian Muslims. This was after forcefully supplanting the Islamic calendar, which had been in use in this country for 800 years before the advent of the British. This status quo provides ample evidence of religious segregation and spiritual apartheid.”
Prof Lakin reminded the FG that Nigerian Christians enjoy five different holidays, while their Muslim counterparts have only three.
He added that, “In the spirit of fairness, equity and justice, the FG needs to allow the dividends of democracy to reach Nigerian Muslims too, by giving them 1st Muharram as a public holiday. This will only bring Muslim holidays to four, while Christians continue to enjoy five.”
- Rasheed Abubakar
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