Never again should a Muslim girl be told to choose between her faith and education in Lagos State or elsewhere in Nigeria because both are her constitutional rights.
The amir (president) of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State Area Unit, Miftahudeen Thanni, made this declaration on Wednesday in Lagos at a press conference addressed by the body and other stakeholders in respect of last week’s Supreme Court judgment approving the use of hijab in the state’s schools.
Speaking at the event, Thanni urged the state government to promptly implement the judgment and caution its officials against harassing Muslim females wearing the hijab
He explained that the government issuing a circular in this respect would prevent “overzealous” teachers and principals from committing contempt of court.
The MSSN leader said: “This is not to castigate the Lagos State government but to appeal for prompt implementation of the Supreme Court judgment.
“We waited patiently to get the judgment and we were lawful throughout. During the period, we consulted, collaborated, protested, held rallies and sensitised government officials on why a willing Muslim female should be allowed to put on the hijab.
“For no reason should a girl-child be denied education again in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole.
“The images of Muslim students sent out of the examination hall for wearing hijab touch the heart and consistently bring tears to the eyes. We do not want this to recur. The education of the girl-child is very paramount in our hearts. No Muslim girl should ever be told to choose between her faith and education. Both are her rights.
“We demand that the Lagos State government issue a circular within 30 days of the delivery of the judgment allowing hijab. The Lagos State government should sanction officials who go against the Supreme Court judgment and hold a meeting with MSSN-Lagos, Muslim leaders and other Islamic organisations on the size and modalities of using the hijab.”
On her part, Asiyat AbdulKareem, who sued the state government, called for a stop to victimisation of Muslim students.
Also, the Ameerah (female head) of MSSN-Lagos, Basheerah Majekodunmi, called on all Muslims to be lawful and report any violation to the appropriate quarters.
The Executive Secretary of Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, Shereefat Enessi, said the Supreme Court judgment “is not a victory for the Muslims alone but also for civilisation, for democracy and for peace,” Enessi said.
The National Amir of the MSSN, Uthman Abubakar, also spoke at the event through the General Secretary of MSSN-Lagos, Hamzah AbdulFattah.
He said: “The MSSN salutes the courage, understanding and application of the constitutional law, as it is, by the panel of the justices.
“The judgment is manifestly credible and guarantees hijab as one of the fundamental human hights granted to Muslims and any other adherents of a religion.”