Wearing of hijab in public schools: Religious tension imminent in Edo

Wearing of hijab in public schools: Religious tension imminent in Edo

Sunday, August 14, 2016 10:27 pm



Jethro Ibileke/Benin

An indication of possible religious tension in Edo state emerged last weekend, following threat by a group, Edo Muslims for Equity and Good Governance (EMEGG), to drag the State government to court over alleged plan by the government to ban wearing of hijab by Muslim female students in public schools.


This is even as the group takes a swipe on the state Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, for orchestrating the nomination of a christian deputy governor as his party’s governorship candidate, though the area the position was zoned to has the highest population of Muslims in the state.


This, the group said was also in spite of agitation that the position should go to a Muslim.


Announcing this in Benin, via a press statement, the Coordinator of the group, ‎Sirajudeen Muhammad, said state Ministry of Education in a recent circular indicated its intention to ban wearing of hijab by Muslim female students in public schools, claiming that the circular was issued under the watch of the state governor whose mother is a practicing Muslims.


“In your move to rid the public schools system of every trace of Islam, you have raised your Islamophobic tendencies up another level with the intent to ban Hijabs in our public schools as contained in a circular released by the Ministry of Education under your watch.


“We thus advise that you retrace your step and revoke this decision or be prepared to face a legal battle of unprecedented proportion of which, God willing, victory will be ours definitely”, Muhammad said.

According to him, controversies over the wearing of  Hijab in public schools had since been settled by a recent court judgment in the case of the State of Osun.


“Mr. Governor, this is an abysmal attitude that smacks of contempt against the will of God and a total disregard of the law which recognizes the rights of Muslim ladies to obey the commandments of their Lord, considering that a precedent is already set by the latest court ruling on this subject in the case of the State of Osun”, he added.


The group while criticizing the state governor, Adams Oshiomhole for sacking the only Muslim commissioner in his cabinet and replacing him with a Christian from an area mostly populated by Muslims, alleged that the governor failed to fulfill his promise of employing 100 teachers to teach Islamic Religious Studies (IRS) in public schools in the State.

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