National body of Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations of Nigeria, FOMWAN has condemned the killing of a Muslim during a peaceful protest over the use of hijab in a public school, Oyun Baptist High School, Ijagbo, recently.The association described the killing of one Habeeb Idris by suspected hired criminals as capable of igniting religious conflagration in the state.
It said the prompt intervention of the Kwara state Government, security agents and the Muslim community of the state prevented the crisis from degenerating into a full blown religious upheaval.
The reaction of FOMWAN national body was contained in a statement issued by the Amirah, Hajia Rofiah Idowu Sanni in Abuja recently.
The FOMWAN National Amirah commiserated with the family of the deceased Muslim, and wished those receiving treatment in the hospital complete healing.
Hajia Rofiah Idowu Sanni who noted that the attack which evidently showed a semblance of a premeditated action was orchestrated by those who are disinclined to the use of hijab by students in Government schools.
She, however, called on security agents to engage in a thorough investigation in order to arrest, prosecute and punish the criminal elements responsible for the act and their sponsors.
The national body of FOMWAN appealed to the Kwara state Muslim community to continue to toe the path of peace and dialogue as well as through the instrumentality of the court to avoid aggravating the already tensed situation.
Also, Hajia Sanni raised concerns over the continuous persecution, oppression, victimisation and molestation of Muslim girls and women adorning the hijab, not only in Kwara state, but across the Southwest region of Nigeria, calling on the relevant authorities to put a stop forthwith.
“Let me use this medium to also call our attention to several other cases of hijab persecution in Oyo, Lagos and Ogun States. Muslim students are not only denied their divine and constitutional rights, they are being locked out from schools because they choose to adorn the hijab.
“The incessant discrimination against women using the hijab must stop abruptly. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria grants us the freedom to practice our chosen faith without discrimination and even the United Nations Charter. So, why the intolerance and bigotry?”
Hajia Sanni said denying Muslim women their rights to wear the hijab can’t guarantee peaceful coexistence and unity in the country.
According to her, “While the persecution of Muslim women and girls continues to linger in the Nigerian society, it should be known that this act cannot bring about unity and peaceful coexistence.
“If Muslims are not allowed to practise their religion according to the dictates of the Creator and not your wish, the desired peaceful coexistence and unity cannot be actualised. Islam is a religion of peace and wants peace across the world. As a result, heads of institutions, establishments and others should respect their freedom of religion.
FOMWAN encouraged Muslim women to renew and reaffirm their intention of using the hijab, saying the use of hijab is a means of worshipping Allah and seeking His pleasure.
“To my dear sisters, we need to renew and reaffirm our intention of using the hijab. The use of hijab is a means of worshipping Allah and seeking His pleasure. By virtue of that, we must use it for His sake. Using the hijab is not enough, but we should be of best character. We must be seen as good ambassadors of Islam, be diligent in dealing with people.
“Anyone using the hijab, khimar or niqab should know that they are carrying the emblem of Islam, as such, they need to act according to the teachings of Islam. You should be differentiated from the crowd for good.
FOMWAN, which led other Muslim women organisations in Nigeria to commemorate the 2022 World Hijab Day, held on February 1st, also clarified that the annual event was not a festival as there are only two festivals in Islam.
“The day is just centred around awareness creation on the understanding of hijab in Islam and how the religion has established it. As Muslims, it is expected of us to propagate the principles of Islam in our capability and capacity.
“I hereby call on all members of FOMWAN home and abroad to remain dedicated to this cause and continue to sensitise and educate people about the hijab, in terms of our character, dressing and interaction with people.”