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Hijab: Fresh Religious Crisis Looms in Osun, Principal Sends Out Students with Hijab




A fresh religious crisis is brewing in Osun State between Muslim Community and the Christian Association of Nigeria, over the use of hijab by female Muslim students in public schools.

CAN is rejecting an order of a state High Court allowing the female Muslim students to wear hijab (headscarf worn by Muslim women to cover their hair) in the public schools.

Justice Jide Falola of an Osogbo High Court had on June 3, 2016 held that the use of hijab by female students is a fundamental right as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, thereby giving them freedom to wear it to public schools.

The Muslim community had approached the court to seek for the interpretation of Section 38 of the constitution and enforcement of the use of hijab in public schools across the state.

Section 38 of the Constitution reads: (1) Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

“(2) No person attending any place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction or to take part in or attend any religious ceremony or observance if such instruction ceremony or observance relates to a religion other than his own, or religion not approved by his parent or guardian.

“(3) No religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for pupils of that community or denomination in any place of education maintained wholly by that community or denomination.

“(4) Nothing in this section shall entitle any person to form, take part in the activity or be a member of a secret society.”

But the CAN described the court judgment as premeditated and a move to propagate islam and Islamise Osun State.

The religious body, while stating that it would appeal the court verdict, warned Governor Rauf Aregbesola not to implement the court verdict.

It threatened that Christians in the state will start wearing church garments to state public schools if Aregbesola implements the court verdict.

CAN stated this in a communique issued and signed by its Osun state Chairman, Rev. Elisha Ogundiya at the end of an emergency meeting of the state Executive Committee, Heads of Blocks and Heads of Churches held in Osogbo on Wednesday.

While CAN is kicking against the verdict, the Muslim Community, which was the plaintiff in the suit described the judgment as a welcome development.

The matter might degenerate to anarchy in the state if the Christians and Muslims make do their threats.

Already, the issue has been generating tension in some schools in the state.

The Principal of African Middle School, Osogbo Mrs. Micah on Thursday refused to allow female Muslim pupils use Hijab in the school.

Mrs. Micah allegedly ordered some pupils of the school to remove their Hijab claiming that it is a Christian school, saying that she was not aware of any court judgment and she would never allow any pupil put on Hijab.

The intervention of the Muslim community prevented the matter for degenerating into anarchy in the school.

The chairman, Osun state Universal Basic Education Board, Chief Felix Awofisayo said the principal erred as all the former missionary schools have been taken over by government and such will obey court judgment.

According to Awofisayo, all former missionary schools in the state belong to the government and as such willing female students can use Hijab in such schools.


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