Lagos – The Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) Nigeria has lamented the possible ban of the hijab in the country as an affront to the religious freedom of Muslim women.
MPAC Executive Chairman, Disu Kamor, said such sentiments by President Muhammadu Buhari, which he made during a chat with media on Wednesday, were unnecessary.
“As the nation confronts grave issues that affect our national security, unity and prosperity, we are plagued with excessive and unnecessary talk about secondary issues and folklore like the role that a piece of cloth on the head plays in countering terrorism,” said Kamor.
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Kamor said contrary to some comments made during the chat, there was no single country in the world that has banned the hijab specifically as a counter terrorism tactic.
The official said that aside, the argument that religious profiling would enhance counter-terrorism efforts was manifestly flawed and counter-productive.
“Those who support the use of this measure and calls on the government to stop Muslim women from fulfilling one of their religious obligations are stuck in a constrained model of thinking, refusing to shift their focus and policies to positive models of constructive engagement,” said Kamor.
He said banning the hijab to enhance security will amount to “taking one step forward and two steps backwards” as the terrorists would act out of character and change their tactics.
Kamor argued putting a ban on an issue that united Muslims as an integral part of a Muslim woman’s obligation to Allah would potentially set the administration in a collision course with the Muslim community, and strengthen the will of “bigots” who had always made life difficult for Muslim women.
“Muslim women will thus resist vehemently any attempt by the state to force them into near-nudity (if the hijab is banned), and they will use all legitimate means to secure their rights as equal citizens who deserve the same high standards of protection under the law,” said Kamor.
He said MPAC called on President to reject suggestions banning the hijab.
“We urge His Excellency to exercise extreme caution in allowing the media to cheer lead him into taking decisions that may pit his government against the Muslim community or slow down the steady progress he is already making in the war against terrorism when he takes his eyes off the ball.”
In conclusion, Kamor said it was high time the government listened and made a difference in how it treated citizens as well as responding to the threat of terrorism.
“The call for the ban on hijab is the latest debris to be washed up on our shores and Nigerian Muslims, Imams and Muslim organisations should continue to take important opportunity to make their voices heard on this and similar issues pertaining to terrorism,” said the Muslim leader.
- CAJ News