It is a unique opportunity to be requested to write a foreword to this authoritative book on the hijab written by Mr. Rasheed Abubakar, a seasoned journalist and a truth advocate. The author needs no introduction, because a golden fish kept in a transparent glass definitely has no hiding place.
In retrospect, the author’s sojourn into print journalism is driven by the passion to report the truth without blemish, no matter whose ox is gored. This journalistic posture has been maintained for years. No wonder, he is loved by his peers with the same ideological mindset.
My intimate interaction with the author’s works revealed that he is blessed with an investigative mind enriched with untiring enthusiasm to educate the reading public yearning to be fed with the truth. I have observed alluring traits in him for over ten years. His works are well-researched and professionally put together like a novel. This unique style of writing has manifested clearly in all his published articles and news – both secular and religious. It is therefore not surprising that he came up with this new book on the Hijab, a year after launching the first series of Islam and the Media. May Allah bless this new effort, the former ones and many more to come, Amin!
Generally, the book is well-written judging by the simplicity of the tenses and clarity of the narratives. The author is like a manufacturer, who simply gathers unrefined raw materials and transforms them innovatively into finished products to the admiration of the final users.
The author cited several cases of media stereotype and bias against Islam in the reportage of news by the non-Muslim dominated media. The Christian dominated media in Nigeria has practically demonstrated its hatred for Muslims in its professional conducts; it has made it abundantly clear that media war is a war of religious supremacy; war between bearers of truth and falsehood.
Not that we do not have Muslim journalists who could defend Islaam. We have brilliant and talented Muslim journalists and writers but a lot of them prefer to mind their businesses because the attack is not targeted at them, their fathers, mothers and personal interests. Some however, remain passive because of the fear being tagged fanatics. I congratulate the author for the courage to write this book.
From the critical narratives of the author drawn exclusively from news headlines as published in the biased media outfits, the battle to defame Islaam and Muslims in this part of the country is historical and endemic!
This thought-provoking book has once again reiterated the fact that, going by the reality of the situation, the battle can neither be totally won nor completely avoided by the Muslims, but can only be managed to our advantage, only if the Muslim community in Nigeria is better organised.
There are eight chapters enriched with ten appendices professionally knitted together like an epic movie series. Reading the book is like embarking on an adventurous journey to a hidden goldmine with exciting expectations and valuable precious metals.
For the biased media that skilfully attack the hijab, Islaam and Muslims with their evil pens, I leave you with the quote from Shaykh Muhammed Sayyid al-Tantawi, Imam of al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt.
He asserts: “Attacking innocent people is not courageous; it is stupid and will be punished on the day of judgment. It’s not courageous to attack innocent children, women and civilians. It is courageous to protect freedom; it is courageous to defend oneself and not to attack.”
▪︎Chapter one (1) discusses the genesis of the assault on the hijab in a number of secondary
schools in Lagos state and how the Islamophobic media organisations in southwest Nigeria downplayed the news because the victims were Muslims and the accused persons who carried out molestations against the hijab were Christians. The manner of reportage and the contents confirmed that the southwest media organisations are appendages of
▪︎ For the Muslims, the hijab issue became a rallying point for a united action by the Nigerian community. Specifically, the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State Area Unit organised a peaceful protest which woke up the generality of the Muslims from their spiritual slumber and physical stupor.
▪︎ Chapter three (3) focuses on the legal battle instituted by the hijab proponents and
the timeline. It is pertinent to mention at this juncture that poor handling of the hijab crisis and obstinacy of the Lagos state government under Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) forced the
aggrieved parents and other critical stakeholders in the hijab project to explore the option of litigation.
4. World Hijab Day serves as a valuable platform that gave MSSN Lagos and few Muslim organisations the opportunity to speak out on the unending harassment, victimisation and abuse meted out to Aisha Alabi, Asiyat Abdul-Kareem and several suffering Muslim children in public schools.
5. Records the political sagacity of the Muslim community and MSSN Lagos which made recognition of the hijab as a precondition for participation in the 2015 general elections in Nigeria. Prominent Muslim leaders through their various organisations cautioned the political class against imposition of a Christian governor; that such imposition is clearly undemocratic. At the peak of the political campaign, ‘NO HIJAB NO VOTE’ was a popular slogan of the Muslim youth with open endorsement by Muslim organisations in Lagos.
6. Creatively discusses the misconceptions about the hijab. Public actions and utterances of non-Muslim politicians, lawyers, judges and
education policymakers show clearly the misconceptions they have about the hijab. At the end, it provides better understanding of the hijab.
7. Biased media reporting in Nigeria is historical and foundational because the pioneering newspapers in Nigeria were owned by the
Christian missions which deployed the media as instrument “to smear the image of Islaam, calling it a religion spread by the sword.” In the contemporary Nigeria, the media organisations still operate with this prejudiced philosophy and bias. The Punch and other print media provided opportunity for attack against the hijab launched by Islamophobes, but refused to give the same opportunity for rejoinders.
8.The final narrative that celebrates the HIJAB VERDICT as a victory for Islaam and a victory to Muslims after several years of peaceful advocacy and litigation. The first victory came from the High Court in Osogbo which upheld the use of the hijab by female Muslim students in the State. The second victory came on
Thursday, July 21, 2016, when a five-man panel unanimously declared that the ban of the hijab in Lagos state public schools violated the fundamental human rights of Muslim students and is therefore wrongful and unconstitutional.
Was-Salam Alaykum Warahmatullahi,
Dr Imam Luqman AbdurRaheem, PhD, MNIM, FAAE, FCEnt, Assistant Professor, American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola and the Amir, The Muslim Congress (TMC)
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