Thursday, July 21, 2016


21st July, 2016

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos this afternoon declared that female Muslim students have the right to use hijab as part of the school uniform.    
A lower court in Lagos ruled in October 2013 that hijab was illegal.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) commends the ruling. It has restored hope in the judiciary as the last hope of the common man. The five judges deserve more accolades. They have proved beyond any reasonable doubt that they were principled men of the bench. It is the victory of the rule of law. Truth has prevailed over falsehood.

The fact that the judgment was unanimous and only two of the five judges are Muslims leaves a firm stamp of authority on the legality of the use of hijab not only by female Muslim students but also by all Muslim women in the country.

MURIC therefore warns officials in public and private institutions who are in the habit of intimidating and stigmatizing Muslim women in hijab to desist forthwith.

We laud Muslim students and Islamic organizations in Lagos State who have demonstrated patience and tolerance in the face of provocations since the unfavourable court judgment of 2013. Unlike their counterparts in the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Osun State chapter who took the law into their hands when the judgment on the hijab case was unfavourable to them, Lagos Muslims showed maturity and respect for the rule of law.

Nigerians have important lessons to learn in the two cases. One, that litigants should remain patient when a lower court makes a pronouncement as there is opportunity to approach an appellate court. Two, that democracy can only thrive where we respect the rule of law. A situation whereby litigants go berserk over a court’s pronouncement can only breed anarchy.

Three, that Muslims are often branded extremists by those who deprive them of their Allah-given fundamental human rights in order to perpetuate the oppression and persecution of Muslims. Whereas opponents had been calling Lagos Muslims ‘terrorists’, ‘extremist’, etc on account of their demanding the right to use hijab, the Appeal Court judgment has now confirmed that the Muslims were doing the right thing.

Four, that the faith of our politicians and leaders does not matter. What matters is that every leader must be prepared to do the right thing no matter whose ox is gored. Five, Nigerians have been offered case studies in religious tolerance on a platter of gold. The searchlight for religious extremists and fanatics should be turned away from South West Muslims and focused where it properly belongs.

The nature of truth is to eventually prevail over falsehood no matter how long. This is the sixth lesson. We call on Nigerians to exercise patience whenever they feel cheated. We should not resort to violence. The law courts are there.

The Supreme Creator is also watching. The Glorious Qur’an says, “Tell them (Oh Muhammad), that the truth has come and falsehood is vanquished. Verily indeed falsehood by its nature is bound to perish” (Qur’an 17:81)  

We appeal to Muslims throughout the country to remain calm, law abiding and watchful.   

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


20th July, 2016

Justice Olamide Folahanmi Oloyede of the High Court of the State of Osun has been recommended for compulsory retirement by the National Judicial Council (NJC). Equally recommended for compulsory retirement by NJC is Justice Muhammed Nasiru Yunusa of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division.   

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) warmly welcomes the recommendations of NJC concerning the two erring judges. It is good riddance to bad rubbish.

Nigerians were totally flabbergasted when Justice Oloyede wrote a politically motivated petition against Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and his deputy. Yet she could not substantiate her claims when the state’s House of Assembly investigated the matter. Her action contradicted her status as an unbiased umpire. Nigerians would do better with illiterate carpenters as high court judges than learned people of her mean disposition.

Whereas corruption is the bane of life more abundant for the people of Nigeria and whereas the masses have resolved to tackle this hydra-headed monster headlong by bringing corrupt politicians to book, Justice Muhammed Nasiru Yunusa, in an undisguised attempt to frustrate the course of justice, aided and abetted looters by granting frivolous injunctions in favour of kleptomaniacs.

MURIC commends NJC for this bold and forthright decision. The judiciary will earn its deserved respect if all the bad eggs can be fished out and severely dealt with.

We warn that the war against corruption cannot succeed if the judiciary constitutes itself into a clog in the wheel of progress. It is sad to see looters sharing less than 10% of their loot with corrupt judges and unprincipled lawyers for the purpose of frustrating the prosecution while they spend the rest 90% living flambouyant lives in the midst of wretched citizens.

We remind judges that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. Nigeria is on the brink of economic dehydration unless all leakages can be plugged. The battle line is drawn. Without prejudice to due process and the rule of law, the question on our lips is, “Are you with us or are you with the looters?”

As we round up, we assure Nigerian judges that the masses are eagerly waiting to see judges and lawyers in the forefront of the war against corruption. Just as the names of looters are currently being hung in the people’s hall of shame, so will the names of judges who stand by the masses to fight corruption be printed in letters of gold in the people’s hall of fame.  

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Monday, July 18, 2016


18th July, 2016

Sequel to the hijab brouhaha which broke out recently in the State of Osun and whose dust is yet to settle, the Lagos headquarters of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has been inundated with complaints from concerned Muslims in Yorubaland.

It is becoming clear that the areas of misunderstanding go beyond the issue of use of hijab by students in public schools. Though the central theme is still hijab, it has extended to persecution, stigmatization, deprivation and prevention of adult women in hijab from performing their civic responsibilities and enjoying social services and amenities provided for all citizens by the government. 

Reference has been made to ugly incidents in public places and the earlier those issues are addressed the better for peaceful coexistence in the South West. It appears the sub-region is sitting on a keg of gunpowder and the so called tolerance and peaceful coexistence in the area is nothing more than a mirage.

Millions of female Yoruba Muslims were disenfranchised during past voters’ registration exercises for the 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 elections on account of their use of hijab. They were told the machine could not ‘capture’ their faces if they wore hijab. Whoever wanted to vote very badly among them had to derobe.

It must be noted that it amounts to publicly undressing a Muslim woman when she is asked to remove her hijab in public. It is dehumanization of the highest order. Yet those officials did it. We affirm that South West Muslims are facing organized persecution. We are crying out to the state governments of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti to do something about it before it becomes open crisis.

Millions of other hijab-wearing Yoruba Muslims are still being denied possession of the national identity card today. They came forward to be photographed but the officials told them they must remove their hijab. Muslim men were asked to remove their caps or turbans. Some returned home in despair. Others succumbed out of frustration and helplessness. The experience of Muslim women in hijab is the same when they attempt to get international passports. They are asked to remove the hijab.

The hypocrisy in the system becomes glaring and shocking when one finds that hijab-wearing women face no problem at all when they go for the national identity card or the international passport in Kano, Sokoto, or any other city in the North.

So why so much hate in the South West? Why is the system applying double standard? Where is the South West tolerance some people are talking about? It doesn’t exist. It is a sham, a myth. We must also ask why different rules are being applied for the same hijab in the same country by the same agency and under the same constitution?

Human rights activists will agree that these are civil liberty matters. We affirm that they are being ignored at our own peril. Like a people sitting on kegs of gun powder, our actions or inactions are bound to catch up with us some day. Our democracy remains a fraud until South West Muslims become free from this kind of stigmatization.

It is common knowledge that, Christian missions disallow female Muslim children from using hijab because they claim that they own the schools (which is false of course since all public schools belong to the government). But were the schools built mainly for the purpose of discrimination and persecution? This attitude has exposed Christian missions as groups with a robust appetite for forceful conversion and a strong passion for the enslavement of fellow Nigerians. These qualities stand in sharp contrast to the democratic values of liberty and the dignity of the human person.

The passion of Christian missions for forceful conversion via coercion and intimidation will make Nigeria’s founding fathers turn in their graves. This cannot be the Nigeria of their dream. We assert that Muslims deserve the dividends of democracy because people like Alhaji Ahmadu Bello and Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa took part in the struggle for Nigeria’s independence. Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, the hero of modern democracy, was a foremost Muslim who paid the supreme sacrifice to liberate Nigerians from military tyranny.

Therefore Muslims should not be pushed to the background when it comes to sharing the dividends of democracy. The freedom to use hijab in any public place, including schools, is one of the dividends of democracy and whoever denies it has committed a crime not only against womanhood but against humanity as a whole.

Christians always cajole Yoruba Muslims that they are different from Northern Muslims in terms of tolerance and peacefulness. But what they are really saying is that they enjoy it when they provoke or humiliate Yoruba Muslims or when they deprive them of their rights and the latter still keep quiet and do nothing.

The state governments in the South West must check the excesses being committed against Muslims in the zone. Nobody should blame Muslims for resisting oppression if the authorities fail to act. It is our sincere hope that they will not wait until Muslims start organizing public demonstrations before they do the needful.

True to the motto of our organization, ‘Dialogue, Not Violence’, we do not issue threats. We believe in dialogue and civilized behavior. But nobody should underrate the ability of Muslims in Yorubaland to embark on legitimate and peaceful actions aimed at registering their displeasure over this modern day slavery.

In conclusion, we call attention to the danger that lies in frustrating legitimate civil rights demands. It is our hope that the actualization of our just demands will not be delayed until they are hijacked by extremist and violent groups who do not share our ideology of pacific activism. Justice is the soul of peace. 

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Friday, July 15, 2016


15th July, 2016

About 80 people were massacred yesterday, Thursday 14th July, 2016 during the annual Bastille Day celebration when an explosives-laden truck drove into crowds of people watching fireworks display in Nice, France.      

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns this attack. Such a gory scene could only be enacted by barbaric and sadistic elements whose only personal assets are their twisted minds. They do not deserve to live among sane human beings.

We are saddened by this unfortunate incident. Our hearts go to the families of the victims and we pray for the quick recovery of those injured by the lunatic attacker. We express unreserved solidarity with the government and the good people of France in this hour of grief.

We affirm that no human being has the right to take the lives of fellow homo sapiens. The Glorious Qur’an forbids the killing of any creature of the Adamic chromosome unless a competent court of law passes a death sentence on such a person (6:151). It also describes the killer of a single person as a destroyer of the whole of humanity while anyone who saves the life of a single person is likened to someone who saves the whole world (5:32).

Without pointing accusing fingers at anyone at this early stage, and without jumping into any conclusion regarding the authors of this dastardly act, we are inclined to take proactive measures in the face of this ugly development.

In view of recent attacks on Western targets, subsequent claims of responsibility by the Islamic State (ISIS) and threats of more attacks on the West, we advise Nigerian Muslims to avoid traveling to Western countries until further notice.

In particular, we are constrained to place an indefinite caveat emptor on trips to the West by Islamic scholars. Our decision is informed by several reports of traumatic experiences faced by Islamic scholars who travelled to Western countries in the past five years. They were subjected to harassment and intimidation at the airports of those Western countries.

The immigration officials of those countries also infringed on the privacies of visiting Islamic scholars by compelling them to open messages in their cell phones and emails. They delayed them for hours or days in uncomfortable environments. The abominable policy of rendition is equally condemnable.

This implies that the whole West now assumes that every Islamic scholar is either a terrorist, a sympathizer of terrorists or a potential recruitment sergeant while anyone who bears a Muslim name must be stereotyped. We frown at this attitude. It is hostile and counterproductive. Stigmatisation of a class of human beings reverses the engine of civilization.

We advise the West to desist from the act of judging 99.9% of the world’s Muslim population by the actions of an infinitesimally small group of misled individuals.

While we denounce the unIslamic, criminal, divisive and inhuman messages of extremist groups who ask Muslims to attack citizens of the West and their targets, we call attention to the Aristotelian theory of ‘causality’ where effects are natural consequences of their causes. There is an urgent need for the West to review its policy in Muslim countries like Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, etc. The casus belli of the turmoil in those countries has been laid squarely on the doorsteps of the West.

Analysts have called attention to the massive devastation of Muslim countries. They see terrorism as mere smoke. In their search for the fire which caused the smoke, they refer to a symbiotic relationship between the crisis in the Middle East and terrorism in general. We advise the West to extinguish the fire which has been responsible for the smoke of terrorism. Justice is the soul of peace.

We appeal to aggrieved extremist elements all over the world to sheath their sword. Revenge is a square peg. Justice is a round hole. The two cannot go together. Qur’an chapter 41 verse 34 (Surat Fussilat) frowns on revenge. It enjoins Muslims to repay evil with goodness.  

We call for a peaceful world. We must make the world safer. We appeal for a halt to the shedding of blood. Violence does not build. It only has the capacity to destroy. The world’s present dilemma is that such destruction often goes beyond the imagination of authors of violence.

Finally, MURIC calls on the youth around the world to eschew violence and avoid extremist groups. We urge parents to watch their children closely and purge them of extremist and violent propensities.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)