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Hijab controversy: CAN competing with bandits to deny Muslim girls access to education, says MURIC


Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has advised the government of Kwara State to rename mission schools whose authorities have refused to obey court pronouncements and government’s directives on the use of hijab in schools.

This advice was given in a press release issued on Saturday the director of MURIC, Ishaq Akintola, saying the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, is competing with bandits and Boko Haram to deny Muslim girls education.

The Street Journal had earlier reported that the Kwara State government had reopened schools on Wednesday, with grant-aided mission schools maintaining that the use of hijab was prohibited, a development that led to clashes between Muslims and Christians.

Similarly, the state Teaching Service Commission, on Thursday, had directed teachers of the affected schools to report to their respective schools on Friday.

However, some of the affected schools locked out staff and students, saying their gates will only be opened if the state government rescinded its decision on wearing of hijab in Christian mission schools.

MURIC in the statement said, “It is obvious that the Kwara State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is determined to foment trouble. It has refused to obey court judgements. It has also rejected government’s directive on the approval of hijab for female Muslim students.

“Worse still, CAN incited its members in the state to occupy the schools. It was this direct and open incitement which culminated in the violence witnessed on Wednesday, 17th March, 2021, in some of the schools. This is open confrontation, militancy, thuggery and hooliganism on the part of CAN, the school principals and teachers.
“MURIC deems it necessary, at this stage, for the state government to put its feet down. No responsible government will allow fanatical religious leaders who have no respect for the rule of law to cause anarchy under its watch.
“It is in this respect that we commend Governor AbdulRahman for coming out boldly to assert his authority in the unequivocal policy statement issued on Thursday 18th March, 2021.
“However, this statement needs to be followed up with actions capable of demonstrating that government has the political will to enforce its directive. Firstly, leaders of CAN in the state should be arrested and charged for contempt of court. This Kwara chapter of CAN is loaded with rebellious subjects and agents provocateur. They have no respect for social decorum, law and order. Government must make it clear that nobody is above the law.
“Secondly, Kwara state ministry of education must take disciplinary actions against the school principals in those recalcitrant schools for exhibiting divided loyalty and insubordination.
“Thirdly, the state government must rename those controversial schools. They may be given names derived from the areas in which they are located. We like to suggest that, by extension, all schools in Kwara State which are still bearing missionary names, whether Christian or Muslim, should be renamed in as much as funding and the teachers’ salaries are still being paid by the state government.”
“We are shocked to our marrows that a religious group in this 21st century has the temerity to disobey court order and the audacity to ignore government’s directive on government’s own property. Where is the principle of equality before the law? Where is the rule of law? Where is respect for democratic principles, norms and values if civilised people refuse to obey court orders? It is such a big shame.
“CAN Kwara State chapter should be ashamed that it seeks to out-Herod Herod by displaying a major characteristic of Boko Haram and bandits. It is well known that Boko Haram and bandit kidnappers are preventing Muslims from having access to schools in Northern Nigeria. CAN is now competing with Boko Haram and bandits by preventing innocent Muslim girls from accessing education in Kwara State.”

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