Sunday, November 28, 2021

FUNAAB BAN ON NIQAB IS ILLEGAL – MURIC

 

28th November, 2021

PRESS RELEASE :

FUNAAB BAN ON NIQAB IS ILLEGAL – MURIC

                                   

The Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) on Friday, 26th November, 2021 confirmed that the use of niqab has been banned in the institution. A female Muslim alumnus was forced to remove her veil by the school securitymen before she was allowed to enter the university.

 

 

However, an Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has rejected the ban. The group argued that no academic institution, public place authority or employer of labour has the right to ban niqab because the freedom to ‘manifest’ religious belief is enshrined in the Constitution of Nigeria.

 

 

MURIC’s position was enunciated on Sunday, 28th November, 2021 by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

 

The group said :

 

“No institution of learning, from primary to tertiary, whether federal, state, or even private, has the right to prohibit the use of hijab or niqab. It is a contravention of the provisions of Section 38(i) & (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended which says inter alia:

 

 

“ ‘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 in worship, teaching, practice and observance’

 

 

“Furthermore, Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right, (ICCPR) guarantees the right to freedom of religion unconditionally. In addition, Article 9 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights & Fundamental Freedoms contains a right to have ‘respect for the religious feelings of believers…’ But FUNAAB authorities have no respect for the religious feelings of Muslims. This must stop.

 

 

“The problem with some non-Muslim heads of educational institutions and public offices in the South West is that they wrongly assume that they can compel Muslims under them to abide by their own non-Muslim way of dressing. They therefore go all out to enact rules and regulations which disallow Muslims from dressing like Muslims. This presupposes that they hate the sight of Muslims.

 

 

“We affirm that any rules and regulations which contradict the letter and spirit of the constitution is illegal, unlawful, illegitimate and unconstitutional. This is the import of Chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1(1) & (3) of the Constitution which stipulates:

 

 

“ ‘This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.’ In particular, Section 1(3) says, ‘If any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constituion shall prevail, and that other law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void.’

 

 

“To that extent, therefore, all anti-niqab pronouncements, memos, circulars, posters, etc issued by FUNAAB are null, void and of no legal effect whatsoever. Same goes for all such declarations and actions in other academic institutions throughout Yorubaland.  

 

 

“We are not unaware of the security implications of the use of niqab and hijab, particularly in these days of general insecurity and we are going to be pragmatic in our approach to this danger. There is the assumption that the dresses may aid shoplifting in campus bookshops or libraries. Weapons may also be hidden under such clothing. But the same fears should also be entertained about some of our African dresses, e.g. agbada or babanriga. Or will any institution contemplate the banning of these African dresses on their campuses?

 

 

“Therefore, if the authorities are not just keen on profiling Muslims, all they need to do is to ensure that Muslim women wearing niqab or hijab are checked by female security personnel. Their identities can also be verified by female officials who will take them to one side and take a look at their faces and cross-check on their identity cards.

 

 

“The security threat is not enough to deprive this insignificant number of students of their Allah-given fundamental human rights. Even the United Nations described Article 18 of the ICCPR as a provision that ‘cannot be derogated from, even in time of public emergency’.

 

 

“Hijab does not pose this kind of threat anyway. But how many female Muslim students use the niqab on campuses? They are very few, perhaps, 2, 3 or maximum of 5 in a campus. Those using niqab are very few because unlike hijab, niqab is not mandatory. It is a matter of choice but, at the same time, it is a symptom of a deeper spiritual journey into the labyrinth of taqwah (piety).

 

 

“Therefore, any Muslim woman who chooses to use niqab has simply elected not to ‘dress to kill’ or to show her curves just to make men salivate and run after her. Even for this reason alone, she deserves love and respect, not hate and humiliation.

 

 

“This is why we find the bill board on decent dressing erected by FUNAAB most illogical, highly irritating and extremely ridiculous. The university placed the picture of a Muslim woman in niqab among those of female students in hot pants, body-hogs, male sagging trousers, crazy jeans, etc. We strongly condemn this act of provocation and we demand that the Muslim woman’s picture be removed from the billboard without delay.

 

 

“FUNAAB must also withdraw the ban placed on niqab within seven days or Muslim students in the institution will embark on peaceful demonstration as from Monday, 6th December, 2021. FUNAAB is advised not to test our will or that of the Muslim students.

 

 

“The fact that Muslims in general have been quiet and docile in the South West does not mean that they are cowards. Also, the fact that Muslim students in the region have never raised their voice against tyrannical school authorities in spite of several provocative actions taken against them does not mean that they do not know their rights. They are simply abiding by the teachings of Islam on obedience to constituted authority.

 

 

“But the case has become different today as many institutions in the South West are bent on perpetuating the persecution of Muslim students. FUNAAB has crossed the red line. This oppression must stop and Muslim students have to take their destiny in their hands or the humiliation will continue ad infinitum. From now on, any institution in the South West that messes up with Allah-given fundamental human rights of Muslim students will face the wrath of the students.

 

 

“What MURIC will not encourage is violence. School properties must not be damaged. Neither should any individual be molested. Muslim students involved in peaceful demonstrations must be civil. Roads outside the campus must not be blocked as this is capable of causing discomfort to innocent road users or even death of people who are sick or pregnant women being rushed to the hospital.

 

 

“Ogun State branch of MURIC has been directed to liaise with the leadership of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) in FUNAAB for the purpose of monitoring developments and to ensure that no single Muslim student engages in violence. All area units of the MSSN are advised to be on standby.

 

 

“The regular molestation faced by the female Muslim girl-child in Yorubaland has exposed the insincerity of feminist groups in Nigeria. Where is Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG)? Where are the female civil rights groups? Why have they turned the blind eye at the persecution faced by female Muslim students? This selective activism has exposed them.

 

 

“But Muslim students must understand from now on that their destiny is in their hands. This religious apartheid will not stop until they liberate themselves. Even South Africa under the notorious apartheid regime was not so bad. This will mark the beginning of another milestone in the peaceful struggle of Muslim students in the South West to liberate themselves from religious discrimination, stigmatization, tyranny, persecution and oppression. After decades of untold suffering, Yoruba Muslim students are saying : Let the Muslims go!”

 

 

Professor Ishaq Akintola,

Director, 

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

 

 

Thursday, November 25, 2021

WARNING ON OLUWO: MURIC REPLIES TRADITIONALISTS

 

26th November, 2021

PRESS RELEASE :

WARNING ON OLUWO: MURIC REPLIES TRADITIONALISTS

                                   

The Traditional Religion Worshippers Association (TRWASO) yesterday renewed its threat to invade Iwo, Osun State over what it described as unacceptable statements made by the Oluwo of Iwo. But the group also warned the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), to stay away because it is not fighting Muslims.

 

 

In a swift response circulated to the media on Friday, 26th November, 2021, MURIC said Islam does not permit the use of abusive language against people of other faiths. But the group also advised the traditionalists to take their protests to Osogbo which is the seat of government if indeed their intention is to ask the state government to remove the Oluwo of Iwo. The statement was signed by the director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

 

 

The statement reads :

 

“The Traditional Religion Worshippers Association (TRWASO) yesterday renewed its threat to invade Iwo, Osun State over what it described as unacceptable statements made by the Oluwo of Iwo. But the group also warned the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), to stay away because it is not fighting Muslims (https://www.blueprint.ng/osun-traditionalists-draw-battle-with-oluwo-warn-muric-to-stay-away/).

 

 

“Let us make some things very clear. Firstly, the warning that MURIC should stay away is absolutely unnecessary because we never said we were coming to Iwo to stop the invasion. MURIC is an intellectual group whose method resides in engaging people in discourse, enlightening the citizenry, particularly Muslims, about their Allah-given and fundamental human rights and protecting those basic civil rights. An intellectual group does not wield weapons or engage in fracas. We are civilised citizens, not hoodlums.

 

 

“Secondly, we appreciate the statement made by the traditionalists yesterday particularly the part where they said, ‘let me sound a note of caution to MURIC, be honest, fair and just in your dealings and utterances. We are not fighting Islam or Oba Oluwo because he is a Muslim king. After all, he is not the only Muslim king and he is not the only wise one, (least to say) that others are not knowledgeable of their personal religion and role as Oba.’

 

“This statement is the beginning of dialogue and, hopefully, some modicum of understanding between us and the traditionalists. As an Islamic group, we will never be unfair or unjust to any individual or group. Neither does our religion teach or allow injustice or the use of abusive words against people of other faiths.

 

 

“This brings us to the threat of invasion made by the traditionalists. Our message to those who threaten to invade Iwo is this: You will be seen as the aggressors if you march on Iwo. Afterall Oluwo did not come to your headquarters to attack you. Your grouse is his speech which you claim is provocative. An aggrieved but law abiding citizen who wants to lodge a report will go to the police station, not the other party’s house.

 

 

“Invasion of Iwo will amount to wilful aggression capable of occasioning harm. It will be unlawful assembly. What MURIC will advise the aggrieved traditionalists is to go to Osogbo. That is the seat of government, not Iwo. It is only a spirit of belligerence that will make them invade Iwo town. This may lead to confrontation.

 

 

“The traditionalists also have an alternative if they want to follow due process and respect social decorum. They should go to court if they have evidence of invectives poured on their gods and idols by the Oluwo. The traditionalists made a good point when they asked us if we would allow anyone to insult our Prophet (SAW). They are correct to that extent. But they should not be too aggressive.

 

 

“As an Islamic group, it behoves us to let the traditionalists (including the people of Iwo) know that Islam does not allow Muslims to abuse other faiths and their gods. The Glorious Qur’an has already warned us on this when it said, ‘Do not revile what they worship besides Allah, lest they vilify Allah out of spite…’(6:108).

 

“For this reason, Muslims should not insult what other people worship. The Qur’an also amplifies this further by saying what others worship are for them and what the Muslims worship is for the Muslims (110:1-6). Therefore our philosophy in MURIC is noninterference in the religious practices of other groups so long as they also leave us alone to freely practice our own. In short, we in MURIC do not support pouring abuses on traditionalists, Christians or people of other faiths.  

 

 

“If it is true that Oluwo has poured invectives on traditional religion, there are civilized ways to go about it.It should not be by threatening invasion. There are laws for such situations. Why do we have a government? Democracy promotes rule of law but we all must first respect that rule of law. To respect the rule of law, the traditionalists must not threaten to invade any city. They should allow the law to act for them if anyone in Iwo has violated the law.

 

 

“Concerning the insinuation that we are supporting Oluwo in wrongdoing, we assure the traditionalists that MURIC does not engage in mischief. We are promoters of justice and fairness. We will not support any wrongdoer just because he is a Muslim (Qur’an 4:135).

 

 

“The way out is for the traditionalists to go to court. The law will protect them. The court can make a pronouncement barring the Oluwo from making such statements in future and he will be acting in contempt of court ruling if he repeats it. He is not above the law.  

 

 

“But the same law will bare its fangs against the traditionalists if they ignore due process and decide to take the law into their hands. Any invasion of Iwo town will be recorded by the indigenes. Even old market women have cameras in their handsets these days. A lot of exhibit will be compiled against them, including the threats issued by them earlier. Traditionalists should not complacently assume that they can always have their way. That will be impunity. The climate has changed. The boastful l’etat cest moi is now anachronistic.

 

 

“The traditionalists said they are not fighting Muslims but they want to invade a city whose population is 90% Muslims. Is the Oluwo not a Muslim? Is this not divide et impera? Will it not be easy for them to deal with the remaining Muslims after intimidating the Oluwo? Is it going to be easy entering the city and going straight to the palace to pick the king?

 

 

“Going by the antecedent of traditional worshippers, tears, blood and sorrow are their characteristic footprints wherever they invade like this. Many Muslims were injured in mosques invaded in Ekiti, Ogun and Osun states in the past few months. As we speak, there is a case in the Osogbo High Court over the murder of a Muslim leader killed a few months ago when traditionalists attacked Muslims at an Islamic programme.

 

 

“MURIC advises the people of Iwo to go about their normal and legitimate businesses without fear. They should continue to worship freely and allow others to worship. Based on the warnings in Qur’an 6:108 and 110:1- 6, sermons and speeches particularly in mosques and public gatherings should be devoid of inflammatory remarks, threats or derisive statements calculated at demeaning other faiths. These are the rules set by Islam for the promotion of religious tolerance and interfaith love.

 

 

“Nonetheless, as we seek peace and offer the traditionalists alternative courses, we take serious note of the spiritual warfare launched by the traditionalists against Iwo town. In the group’s statement yesterday, it called on traditionalists all over the world and told them, ‘To all Onisese across the world, as the President of TRWASO, I call on you today to be involved. From today 25th November, let us offer a kolanut each on daily basis to our Orisa to seek their intervention by 30th November. (it is never too late to join the train).’

 

 

“This is definitely a declaration of spiritual warfare. We cannot know their intention, but Allah knows both the open and the hidden. If they get away with this, they will continue the intimidation till kingdom comes. We therefore call on Muslim individuals, groups and mosques all over the world to pray fervently for the protection of Iwo town, Yorubaland and the whole of Nigeria.

 

 

“Beginning from today, Friday, 26th November, 2021, let us pray for peace and security. Pray for religious harmony and love among our people. Remember to use Ayat al-Kursiyyu severally. In particular, we implore you to observe a fast on Monday and to recite surat al-Fiil (lilafi) at least seven times after subhi prayer on Tuesday, 30th November, 2021 which is the deadline given by the traditionalists to invade Iwo, the city of Islam.

 

 

Asalatu groups are advised to use ayudafiu while Islamic scholars should concentrate on using saifi from the comfort of their homes on that day. We have assurance that Muslims shall not be disgraced. We charge members of MURIC in all its state branches North and South throughout Nigeria to observe the fast on Monday and to engage the services of Islamic scholars in prayers for the city of Iwo. The city of Islam must not fall. Whoever wants to blame us should remember that the traditionalists started the spiritual warfare by publicly calling on their faithfuls to start rituals on this matter.

 

 

“To all traditionalists across the world, we assure you all that we believe in religious tolerance. Muslims have no right to disturb your worship just as you have no right to intimidate Muslims. Our prayers are not targeted at you. We are not at war. Our prayers are targeted only at those who intimidate us and threaten our city. But we offer them peace if they desist. We therefore urge Muslims to remain calm and law abiding, but prayerful and watchful.

 

 

“We reiterate our message to both the government of Osun and the state police command. Nigerian Muslims will hold both of them responsible if there is any breakdown of law and order in Iwo over this altercations. The traditionalists have repeated their notice to illegally, unlawfully, illegitimately and unconstitutionally invade a town in Osun State which falls within their jurisdiction. Both the government and the security agencies know the preemptive steps to take. It will be dereliction of duty if they fail to take it. It had better not happen.”

 

 

Professor Ishaq Akintola,

Director, 

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)