By Olatunde Azeezah
The oppressions, victimizations and conspiracies targeted deliberately at the Muslims is all over the four corners of the world in which our country, Nigeria is not an exception. Nigeria, as a case study continues to harbour hatred for Islam coupled with intention to halt the growth and success of our religion. The discriminations and prejudices they’ve against Islam and her adherents, specifically Hijab (compulsory veil) often give birth to their uncalled for attitudes. More often than not, they set up road blocks to our success. Nay! They fail to know that no one can quench the light of Islam.
The cases of hijab – victimization of Muslim sisters has become so rampant and had caused quite a number of stirs in the country yet the government decide to keep an hypocrisy mute on this kind of ruckus capable of causing an atmospheric pandemonium in the country. The hijabites (Muslim females using Hijab) are being victimized and humiliated all because they chose to practice and manifest their faith which is an inalienable rights of everyone. This right was enshrined in Nigeria Constitution. I ask, what went wrong with Nigerians? Are we no more law abiding citizen?
Chapter 4, Section 38 (1) of the 1999 constitution and Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Right, state: “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief inworship, teaching practice and observance”.
Interestingly, one of the ways of practicing Islamic religion is by observing the dress code of Islam designed for both males and females. The injunction of Allah is for the female to use veil, which is Hijab in public without any objections. Yet, one is left to wonder why Nigerians decide to infringe on our inalienable rights by displaying madness when we tends to exercise our religious right. Unarguably, this hinders the female Muslims to practice their religion which contravenes section 38 of our constitution. For crying out loud, who did this to Nigeria? The hatred shown upon Muslim’s sisters’ is totally irksome.
Let’s quickly travel back in time. On the 20th November, 2017 the issue of Hajia Sharifa Yunus a niqabite (one who uses face veil) whose veil was forcefully removed by kemi Ilori caused a ruckus on social media and the vibrant Press men and human right organizations we used to know kept quite despite the clear oppression that was displayed by kemi Ilori on this gentle soul. Or is Sherifah Yunus no more a female to be treated fairly? Before now, no attempt has been made to change the Islamaphobia (hatred for Islamic principles) harboured by Nigeria non-Muslims and liberal Muslims or should I say the antipathy people have for the practicing Muslims is yet to be addressed despite being a national issue. It is right time to answer it once and for all!
Another socked we got this month, December on Hijab – Saga, is the oppression of sister Amasa Firdaus by Nigerian Law School as she was denied entry to the ICC for her call to bar ceremony. Truly there’s a dress code for the ceremony but no single law prohibit the use of Hijab on wig. And if there exist such law, then it must be subjected to rectification for peaceful coexistence. We have not seen the law violated by Amasa Firdaus but the aversion and absolute bigotry they have towards Islam made them asked all the Muslim sisters to remove their hijab. The image of the scene was totally horrified, what has hijab go to the with the bar? How can hijab be akin as a rag that is not to be worn in social places?
We are glad, Amasa Firdaus stood firmly on her faith. She didn’t succumb to the filthy threats from oppressors, even when her dreams to be a barrister seems to be at stake. Her courage and confidence reminded me the likes of Zainab Ghazali, Hafsoh RA. She is Nigeria Rosa Parks and we hope that her braveness will change the status quo of Hijab Saga in Nigeria.
The prejudices and victimizations also occurs in secondary school despite the fact that the position of court on the use of hijab in secondary school favoured the Muslims. With all these judgements, the students are still victimized and threatened by their teachers not to put on their hijab. Some teachers go to the extreme point by terrorizing our students and even referring to Hijab as “Akisa” (rag) all because they are practicing their religion which is not a crime in anyway. Some obstinate students who unswervingly stood by their faith are assaulted by those wicked teachers involved.
Apart from those Hijab cases publicly known we also have silent problem confronting our sisters using Hijab due to religious intolerance. Sisters that seek for white color job often get biased by the employees. Those sisters are not offered job even when they meet requirements. As long as the apparition of their Hijab is seen, it becomes a sudden lit of hatred light in their evil heart. The Muslims want to know why our hijab? This is an excruciating dilemma the practicing Muslims go through in their day to day activities.
Hijab is our identity, All that exist comes with its own symbol and identity. We have the national identity, we have cultural identity and we have RELIGION IDENTITY. A Muslim female needs her hijab not only for identification but also as an act of worship. A Muslim male needs to put his trousers above his ankles and keep his beard not only for identification but also as an act of worship. If each individual is entitled to freedom of thoughts, conscience and religion. Then why persistently become an hindrance to them to worship their Lord.
A lot of sisters have actually fell into the mischievous pits of these oppressors. They concur with them and disobey their Creator. The Muslims should be careful not to defile the words of Allah at all because of worldly desires. Remember that our actions and deeds are being recorded, don’t let’s catch on to the mirage of success shaytan and his companions choose to offer. Be conscious of Allah’s piety (Taqwa) everytime. This consciousness of Allah will enable us to obey Him and be steadfast on the path of Islam.
My advice to all Muslims out there is to remain steadfast irrespective of the circumstances that surround them. We should all become Amasa Firdaus wannabe. We need to summon courage and istiqamah (steadfastness) like summayah RA(The first female to be martyred), Hasiyah RA, Zainab Ghazali did in the past in the face of oppressors. The case of Amasa Firdaus and other female muslims present may possibly be a test of faith from Allah and I am sure we are not oblivious to the fact that Amasa Firdaus passed the test.
In Surah Al-Baqara, Verse 155 Allah said:َ “And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient.”
Every Muslims irrespective of their gender should provide solidarity for each other, our togetherness and strength can curb this disheartening prejudice for our religion. The reason for this point is that some Muslims don’t give support to each other in this course. Some Muslims sometimes are the one that orders Muslimahs to remove their hijab, they are cognizant of the fact that it’s an injunction from Allah still they treat those that obey Allah as extremist or fanatics. To them, tolerance is neglecting the fundamentals of the religion and treating religious issues with levity hand. We muslims need to put an end to this and obey Allah’s commandments in solidarity. May Allah make it easy for us. Ameen!
©Azeezah Olatunde (PenTalks)