22 May 2013

Nigeria: Parents Protest Ban On Hijab in Schools

Following the Lagos State Commissioner for Education's reported ban on wearing of hijab by Muslim students in the state's public schools, Muslim parents have expressed their grievances, saying such is against the practice of Islam.

The Commissioner of Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, at the ministerial press briefing to mark the second anniversary of the second term in office of Governor Babatunde Fashola, who condemned the excessive flogging of the student for wearing hijab, said wearing of hijab to school is prohibited.

"The hijab is not part of the school uniform and can only be worn by female muslim students when they are going to pray. The Lagos State Government has prohibited the use of hijab or other head wears by muslim students in her public schools, except if it is part of the school uniform."

This declaration sparked off protests by muslim parents who said their wards should be allowed to practise their religion freely.

Speaking with Vanguard Learning, Alhaji Isiaka of Alhusma Central Mosque said "muslims should be allowed to practise their religion irrespective of academic or religious environment. Nigeria is made up of diverse religions and every religion should be free to practise the ethics and beliefs guiding their religion.

Some muslim mothers vehemently kicked against the law, saying that there are malaikas (muslim word for angels)" assigned to guide every aspect of man.

"There are curses for those who choose to violate the commands of these malaikas such as those who expose their heads. This law, therefore, is against our religious ethics and should not be accepted."

However, at a stakeholder's meeting chaired by the Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Alhaji Oyinlomo Danmole, which had muslim students and lawyers present, it was agreed that students can only use their hijab when they want to go for prayers, when they want to read Qur'an, and when they are going for Jumat prayer on Fridays.

It was agreed that whoever insists that their daughters wear the hijab to school should send such to a private Muslim school so as to avoid confusion and break down of law.

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