RE: Should Govt Ban Long Hijabs?

On 22nd February 2015, some armed robbers, dressed in army uniforms attacked a fuel filling station close to my residence. They made away with all the day’s earning without any counter attacks. Now, since they were in military uniforms, should we ask that the government ban the soldiers from wearing military uniforms because of this?

On countless occasions, armed robbers in various states of the federation, especially Kogi State and even the Boko Haram insurgents have attacked their victims while on army uniforms. Should the government then ban soldiers from wearing military uniforms?

The call by #CyberParliament for opinions on whether the government should ban “Long Hijabs” is a weighty distortion of reality, whose presentation has been garnished with faithful hypocrisy. Basically, the recurrence of suicide bombings lately by girls/ladies on long Hijabs cannot be dissociated from the ineptitude of the government. We all know that these horrific bombings started mainly after the Chibok girls were abducted, in a state under emergency rule. Meanwhile, the BH insurgents have decided to use religious garbs again to accentuate their evil acts; especially in the core north wherein the Muslims dominate.

It is an open secret that the world has been characterized by tussles for religious hegemony. The people of different faiths are devising means to outwit and demonize others to sanctify their own religious belief. Hence, there have been a lot of maneuverings and manipulations to taint the most revered and divine customs of other people’s faith, the Long Hijab inclusive. It must be borne in our minds that terrorism is not the monopoly of any religion and as such on no grounds should the religious identity of others be banned due to dearth of purposeful and just governance in our nation.

There have been reports of people of the Christian faith who carried out or apprehended while carrying out terror attacks in Nigeria. Should their religious symbols be considered for ban as well? The followings are some of the examples to buttress this point:

* On 27th Dec., 2011, Emmanuel (Wisdom) King who disguised as a Muslim wearing a Kaftan and Turban was apprehended while trying to detonate some explosives at a church in Yenegoa, the Bayelsa state capital.

* On Tuesday, April 10, 2012, a 38year old man named Monday Davou was arrested while planting a timed Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at Makera weekly market, in Riyom LGA, Plateau state.

* In Gombe state, one madam Ruth was caught while attempting to bomb ECWA church in the Kalarin area of Kaltungo.

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In furtherance of fairness and objectivity, if these bombings must stop or be curtailed drastically, the government must as a matter of fact uphold justice and ensure the pragmatic application of the “Rule of Law”. The myopic call on whether the government should consider banning long Hijab is like chasing shadows and leaving realities behind. It is a known truism that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Therefore, what is needed to abate these horrendous bombings is to prosecute the perpetrators of terror, regardless of religious or ethnic affiliations. Because of our poor attitude of dealing with cases of injustice and terrorism, we left officers that killed Muhammad Yusuf, the late leader of BH, unprosecuted. This is the same with Ogwuche, who masterminded the Nyanya bombing that claimed innocent lives. The promulgation of favouritism in the execution of justice will only catalyze the ubiquity of unjust killings, either by those donned in Long Hijab or those on Long Rosaries. It is high time we adopted the Chinese way for culprits: one bullet can ease their exit to the afterlife.

The wearing of long Hijab is a divine injunction, which aims at curtailing immoralities and safeguarding the human societies from promiscuities. The government and its handlers on whatever media should not hoodwink the masses that the long Hijab facilitates terror attacks. We are too enlightened to know that terrorism is not the monopoly of any religion. Let justice prevail and fight corruption sincerely then all other things will fall in their respective places. Any attempt to ban Hijab, regardless of its length, will contravene the inalienable fundamental human rights of Muslim women as contained in the Nigerian constitution.

In conclusion, “Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich,” averred Napoleon Bonaparte. We urge the government to adopt apt means to counter insurgency and terror attacks without infringement on the rights of Muslim women; lest the nation is plunged into a chaotic state of stupor. Religious injunctions about Hijab are divine; so much that the Christian scripture recognises it. See: Genesis 24; 62-65.

62) Now Isaac came from the way of Beer Lahai Roi, for he dwelt in the South. 63) And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming. 64) Then Rebekah lifted her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from her camel; 65) for she had said to the servant, “Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took a veil and covered herself.

Equally, let the administration of justice prevail as enjoined in the Qur’an 5: 8 that

“… Let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice…”

If the government will not ban the use of military uniforms even when people use it to perpetrate heinous acts, why should it consider ban on a divine directive of Muslims to use Long Hijab (or hinder their full practice of Islam which is their constitutional right)?

Olayemi Bello Abdurrahman wrote from University of Ibadan.

Views Expressed Are Solely Auhtor’s…

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