The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) Lagos State Area Unit has called on the Federal and State Governments to caution their officials from molesting and assaulting their members over the use of the Hijab.
The Amirah (female president) of the faith-based Muslim students’ body, Hajiah Basheerah Majekodunmi made the call yesterday at the press conference to commemorate the 2019 World Hijab Day (WHD).
Thousands of MSSN Lagos members in secondary schools and higher institutions will also hold an awareness rally today, Friday, across Lagos State to sensitise Muslims and non-Muslims on the use of the Hijab and its significance.
Hajiah Majekodunmi disclosed that the rate at which Muslim students are being harassed in both government and private schools is alarming.
She said: “Today, we are aggressively focusing on fighting bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice against female Muslims for wearing the Hijab in schools.
“I regretfully inform you again that 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”, she stated.
Majekodunmi cited an instance where a female Muslim student at Ikosi High School, Lagos was slapped by an official of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) for resisting the pulling off of her Hijab, while later forcing her to wear a beret.
According to her, “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”.
Majekodunmi expressed disappointment over government insensitivity to the continuous harassment of Muslim students, which she said portends a serious threat to our peaceful coexistence as a nation.
“We have constantly reported some of these cases to the government but little results are seen, while some have been taken up legally. We have gotten to a point that we are beginning to think that there is a connivance between the teachers and principals of some schools to frustrate Muslim students in their bid to practice their religion through the use of the Hijab.
“If this is the grand plan, In Sha Allah, they will fail. We call on the government to caution the indisciplined, unlawful religious bigots among its teaching workforce.
“We are a peaceful community and we have respect for democratic values and the rule of law, but we will not allow our fundamental human rights to be tampered with.
“It’s utterly sad that we are experiencing too much of assaults and abuses on the Muslim female folk, because they are wearing the Hijab. This discrimination is too much, and it has to stop! The government has to criminalise assaults against people wearing the Hijab.
“The ugly incidents of harassments against Hijab-wearing Muslims have assumed their peak, and they are causing us gross emotional trauma and stigma. It cannot continue like this! The defaulters have to face the wrath of the law.”
The Muslim student body therefore called on the FG/State agencies, including WAEC, to caution its officials to stop violating the Nigerian constitution and the existing Appeal Court verdict that affirmed the right to use the Hijab by female Muslim students.
“The Hijab is a core part of dressing and an obligation that a female Muslim must fulfill in her religion. So, the Hijab should not even generate so much dust in a democratic society like Nigeria.
“Meanwhile, they must note that their actions and inactions have caused our members huge psychological trauma, such that some of them now feel hated and rejected in their own country.
“We call on all Nigerians, irrespective of tribe or religion, to join this voice as part of solidarity with the Muslim women, most especially the female secondary school students who are brazenly and incessantly harassed and assaulted because they wear the Hijab to schools in their own country”, she added.
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