The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has condemned the International School (ISI) of the University of Ibadan (UI) for suspending Miss Ikhlas Olasubomi Badiru, an hijab-wearing student of the school.
MURIC Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, said on Monday in a statement that the suspension order was handed down by the school principal, Mrs. Phebean Olowe.
According to him, the suspension is superfluous, preposterous and provocative.
“This suspension is one too many. It is superfluous, preposterous and provocative. The authorities of International School Ibadan are overdoing it. The suspension smirks of kindergarten intellect.
“It is as clear as daylight that the school principal has very poor crisis management skill and she manifests desertification of damage control techniques.
“We call on Nigerians to note what is happening in ISI. Muslim children are being stigmatized just for wearing an ordinary head scarf, not for engaging in cultism or for cheating in examinations. This same hijab is allowed in British schools. It is used in Sweden, Finland and all over Europe; America embraced it long ago. Interestingly, these are countries where the percentage of Muslim population is infinitesimally low.
“Yet in Nigeria where Muslim population is higher and Muslims cannot be said to be a minority, Muslim children are being tyrannically profiled. Islamophobia is the order of the day. Surprisingly, Muslims have not reacted in anger. They are exhibiting civilized behaviour to deal with the situation,” Akintola said.
The MURIC boss said that a girl-child is a girl-child no matter her religion as her creed does not change her sex, neither does it change her age.
He said the hijab on her head preserves the dignity of her human person and any attempt to force her to remove it constitutes a criminal assault on her honour and an infringement on Section 38 (i) and (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Does it not amount to contempt of court for the principal to hand down a suspension order while the case is in a court of competent jurisdiction? Is this not another act of impunity? Olowe has crossed the red line,” he said.
He said the development has goaded Muslims to take the hijab saga in ISI to the next level and that Muslims must move beyond mere rhetoric.
“We hereby declare Friday, 11th September, 2019, Ikhlas Day. The slogan of the day is ‘Suspend One, Suspend All. ‘I am Ikhlas’. That day is for peaceful demonstrations in and around UI in solidarity with our sister, Ikhlas Olasubomi Badiru.
“All members of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) in and around Ibadan and the Oyo State chapter of MURIC are hereby mobilized to join their brothers and sisters in UI on that day. It is now or never. It is just a warning shot and we hope those who have ears will hear,” he said.
He also commended Muslim lecturers and administrative staff of UI for supporting the female Muslim students of ISI.