One Mrs. Ronke Folarin the Chairman of Civil Service Commission, Ogun State during a promotional program at the Ogun State Secretariat, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta was reported to have called a man “Boko Haram” because he maintained long beard in line with the practice of Islam. She was said to have sent the Muslim man away telling him to go and shave his beard if he wants to be promoted.
This is the plight that most Muslims who find themselves in the civil service especially in the South and Middle Belt suffer in Nigeria daily. Many are out rightly denied employment because they keep beards or wear Hijab, others are simply mocked at, ridiculed and victimised in the course of discharging their duties in their work place. This man was not denied promotion because he did not merit it, he was sent away because Mrs. Ronke Folarin was not comfortable with the man’s level of Islam.
Sometime in April 2012, one Justice Rose Soji denied one Barrister Hassan Nalaraba from entering appearance in her court on two occasions because the Muslim Barrister also kept long beards in line with the practice of Islam. The Justice was quoted to have asked in disgust “Who is this Sheikh? Why are you looking so dirty? Why are you putting up this beard, they are dirty”. This happened in Nasarawa State, a Muslim majority populated state.
If you think Mrs. Ronke Folarin and Justice Rose Soji outright hostility towards practitioners of Islam were isolated incident, think again. One Mrs. Erunmusele, the immediate past Principal of the Edo State School of Nursing told her female Muslim students to leave and go to the North if they want to dress as Muslims and study Nursing. Till date Muslim Nurses as well as Nursing students are compared to wear tight fitted uniforms that expose their body parts contrary to their beliefs as Muslims.
Compare this to the incident in 2002 when eleven Christian Nurses were sack for refusing to dress decently in Azare, Bauchi State, the federal Government had to step in and reinstated them due to outcry from the Christian community that felt the Nurses were victimised because of their religion. Nobody listens to the Muslims of this country when we cry of obvious victimization, discrimination and prosecution because of their religious convictions. Nobody steps-in for the rights of Muslims. The only response we get in return is more victimization and insults from some Christian leaders and their intoxicated foul mouths online followers.
Even Muslim leaders have adopted the policy of self-censorship because they are afraid of being called terrorist or accused of sponsoring Boko Haram or wanting to Islamise Nigeria (whatever that means). They so censored themselves that the only words that comes out of them in defence of Muslims are muted. Some, like the governor of Osun State, pay constant visits to Christian leaders and had almost became a traditionalist in other to prove to the Christians that he has no “Islamist” agenda, yet the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) still claims he wants to Islamise Osun State because he stopped the discrimination of Muslim girls who were initially prevented from wearing their hijab in public Schools, for this, CAN will not forgive Governor Rauf Aregbesola even when his cabinet is dominated by Christians. CAN have interpreted anything he does that they don’t like to a ploy to Islamise the State.
A female Muslim student of Baptist High School, Iwo in the same Osun State was arrested by the Police on the order of the school authority for daring to wear hijab to school. Few months ago in Lagos, there was also the case of one Mrs. E.C Ukpaka who beat and humiliated little Aisha Alabi because she dare wear her hijab in school premises even after closing hours. The principal was so disgusted that she immediately called an assembly where she flogged the poor child with over 40 strokes in a bid of humiliating and dehumanising her.
In Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Muslim Women are routinely arrested, detained and threatened for using face veil. Muslim Nursing, Pharmacy students are forbidden from wearing the Hijab. But girls with naked thighs, cleavage, breasts and buttocks freely roam around the campus unquestioned. See Prosecution and Discrimination of Muslim Women in Obafemi Awolowo University
Coupled with all these things they are doing against Muslims, years ago they went to Borno State and slaughtered people in the streets of Maiduguri, they riddled a religious leader (Muhammad Yusuf) with bullets right inside the State Police Headquarters and today we can’t sleep because his boys won’t let us. Months ago, JTF raised down Baga, killed hundreds including women and children, all Muslims.
Professor Isaac Olawole Albert of the department of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Ibadan in a paper presentation last year warned against aggressive attitude being directed at Muslims in the country, stressing that Muslims have different levels of tolerance. While the nominal Muslims may not react sharply because they don’t attach much importance to the truth and rituals of their religion, Moderates will make noise about the issue until it is address. He further warned that the radicals would react like radicals. Summary of a Paper Presentation by a Christian Professor at MULAN 6th Annual Conference
These anti Islam elements are trying day and night to provoke Muslims, testing the patient of Muslims. In other to undermine Islam and Muslims, they have not only committed atrocities against Muslims in Yelwa, Kuru Karama, Jos, Maiduguri and Southern Kaduna (etc.), they have continuously struggled to impose another religion down the throats of Muslims or out rightly gag Muslims into silence in the face of victimization while they beat the drums of war in threat and feast on the blood of Muslims. See A MUSLIM OPEN LETTER TO PASTOR AYO ORITSEJAFOR, GENOCIDE IN THE NORTH: WHO WILL STOP JTF?
Lastly, our advice to Muslims is that they remain steadfast and strive towards goodness and piety. Holding on to Islam in this time is like holding on to a burning coal in the middle of an ocean. All they want is for you to drop the “coal” and follow their lifestyle of nakedness, fornication and shamelessness or alternatively push you into extremism to justify killing you like they are doing in Borno and elsewhere. I urge you just like I urge myself to maintain a middle cause and be patient just like the Prophet (SAW) was. It is only Allah that gives victory.
IGHO HAKEEM OHWOJEHERI
BENIN CITY @naijainfoman
In sha Allah next week we will be writing on the NYSC Scheme and how it’s been used to assault and undermine Muslims in Nigeria.
Follow my twitter handler @naijainfoman, like my facebook page naija infoman alternate views and on tumblr naijainfoman’s note