HIJAB IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS: WESTERN EDUCATION AT LOGGER HEAD WITH RELIGION

Welcome to Nigeria, the home of religious hypocrity, bigotries and sentiments. Welcome to Nigeria where diversity in the religious beliefs and doctrines matter less when it comes to the system of extortion and corruption by High Schools Principals, Proprietors and management.

The use of Hijab by Muslim female students as an attachment to school uniforms in Nigeria High Schools is no more a convolution. It has been a cold war so far between the parents and the school management and it is gradually turning to a common phenomenon in most of the Secondary Schools in South West zone.

The so called management of Nigeria High Schools easily come together as one and reaches a profitable consensus when it comes to an issue of permanent interest. They are sometimes blind and deaf to what the Holy Book says and preaches against vice like stealing, corruption, bribery, extortion, indecent dressing and sexual harassment. They practice all of these; all in the name of civilization, westernization, greed and comfort but they see Hijab (chador) as taboo and violation against the rules and regulations of their schools and colleges’ dress code.

More so, the use of Hijab by Muslim female students in Nigeria schools and colleges has been a cold war between parents and the so called Proprietors, Principals and Management of various schools. An attempt by any Muslim female student to cover her hair with Hijab in a school that is privately owned and managed or managed by either Federal, State or Local government would result to serious sanction and punishment because Hijab has been viewed as an additional dress code that goes against the schools rules and regulations. But, these sets of people find solace in any illicit operation against God’s rules and regulations. They comfortably use human standard to do things in their favour as against the favour of the general good; an action that lend credence to in fact that man can do anything that will promote his or her interest no matter whose horse is gored. What an irony of life!

The University of Ibadan International School was shut down for some months as a result of the brawl that occurred between the parents and the school management over the wearing of Hijab. During this period, the students with no choice got married to idleness at home while the warring parents and the school management were busy in the court with their counsels arguing the merits and demerits of their cases.

Similarly, my eyes caught a screaming headline on one of the online media and what mesmerized my attention was how lawyers were exchanging vituperations in the court because of Hijab. It was revealed from the report that the parents sued the school management to court for infringing on their daughter’s freedom of religion.

It is so disheartening to note that there have been numerous occasions of Hijab crisis in schools and colleges across the country which had led to protests, Court warrants and shut down of schools simply because the management of these schools does not want their female students to put on their Hijab (chador ) as witnessed in the University of Ibadan International Schools a renowned school that has produced great men and women from the two divides of the major religion in Nigeria.

Emphatically, Hijab has been a signal of modesty and apart from being part of Islamic religion, Hijab sieve students from harassments and sexual assaults. Anyone that wears hijab tends to be highly revered and honoured because it reveals the beauty in humanity and sanctity. But it is somehow pitiable that this emblem of modesty is facing criticisms severely in some schools all in the name of Western Education and civilization.

These schools management have forgotten that many cases of sexual harassment in our high schools and tertiary institutions do occur because of immoral dressings and of course, it is really rare to see any female student to be harassed beneath Hijab; instead, they are being regarded as ‘Salam Alaeukums and ‘Alhajas’. Now that wearing of Hijab by female secondary school student faces serious condemnation, it is not wrong to say that one of the evil effect of these condemnations and attacks on the use of Hijab have contributed immensely to the higher level of moral depravity and decadency in our females’ dress sense.

The use of Hijab is a fundamental human right as contained in the constitution, each female secondary school students has inalienable rights to practice any religion of their choice guaranteed by the freedom of association. Why the shutdown of the University of Ibadan International School because of the female students wearing Hijab? Why denying Amosa Fridaus her eligible right to be called to bar because of her refusal to detach her Hijab? Why the grudges on the use of Hijab in Lagos and Osun States High Schools? Why do Principals, Proprietors enforce the students to obey the school rules and regulations and make them to disobey their Creator’s rules and go against the doctrine of their religion? What an infringement!

As a matter of fact, it is never a big deal for a Muslim female student to put on her Hijab in schools like: Ansarudeen, Nawair- Ud Deen simply because it is never a sin to propagate and promote one’s religion in Islamic religious schools .At the same time, one must not term it as an infringement to debar Muslim female students from wearing Hijab in a Baptist, St, James, Catholic, St, Mark colleges. Why? Because these schools are being managed by the government but basically erected on religious foundation since early 60s. When we understand and work towards this, then, we have understood and respect the differences in our religion which will promote unity, orderliness and progress in Nigeria.

Furthermore, if the Management, Principals, Proprietors, leaders of these schools can disobey God when it comes to extortion, corruption, bribery, sexual harassment, then the students should be at liberty to obey their Creator by putting on Hijab.

Wearing Hijab should not cause controversies and crisis. Allowing students to preserve their religion and enjoy their eligible rights as Nigerians should not be what will be disputed in the court of the land but unfortunately there have been many instances of such which has shown our level of thinking and degeneration as a nation as what ought to be taken mportant is sacrificed on the altar of mediocrity. Hijab does not disfigure school uniforms, it beautifies it and so far wearing Hijab by female secondary schools student does not infringe on any body’s right nor does it prevent assimilation by the female student concerned, then the freedom of religion and association should be upheld by all the parties concerned.

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