Lagos State government just passed a bill banning hijabs in public schools. I watch Your View, a breakfast show on TVC Entertainment every morning with my dad and for the past two days, they’ve talked about the validity of the ban on hijabs.
I have never attended a public school in all my life so to some people, my take on this issue might be prejudiced. I apologize, but if you have any other thing to say after reading this article, please place a comment below or tweet @ me: @Eseosa__ .
I personally have nothing against muslims. The majority of my family practices Islam. I have a lot of muslim friends but, I think that this bill should be no cause for argument. If the government says wearing hijabs in school is illegal, its because they’re trying to prevent bigger problems. You will agree with me that religious differences have been a huge cause for concern not only in Nigeria but, worldwide. Granted, there are those that treat muslims with extreme prejudice what with all the terrorism and all. Events like 9/11 and Al Quaeda, Al Shabbab, Boko Haram, and most recently, ISIS have further cemented this prejudice against the followers of Mohammed. On the contrary, Islam is a religion of peace but, the attitude of the rest of the world against our muslim counterparts because of the actions of SOME of them has made them somewhat fervent in their defense and protection of themselves from this prejudice. Watching today’s episode of Your View helped me understand this. One of the hosts of the show, Nyma (a muslim) says because it is a law in Islam for a girl/woman to always cover her head, the bill being passed is disrespectful not only to the girls who religiously abide by this law, but also to the religion itself especially because Islam is a religion recognized by The Nigerian Constitution. She forgot so easily that the current Governor of Lagos State, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola is not only a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), but, a muslim SAN at that. You’d expect that if anyone would object to such a bill, it would be him, but, he didn’t and his actions speak volumes.
I attended secular private schools from nursery through high school and hijabs have never been an issue. We were made to understand that when we’re in school, there is no rich or poor or christian or muslim: we’re all students of the school and we’re equal. During school assemblies, different students were called upon to pray and it didn’t matter what religion you practiced, we prayed the in the ways we knew to. Wearing a rosary or having your tesbiu (muslim prayer beads) with you during school hours was seen as fanaticism and these items were duly seized and offenders were punished. This being said, if the government allows muslim girls to wear their hijabs as public school students, and teachers seize a rosary from a christian student, there will be problems. Let’s not even go far. Every male student is expected to be clean shaven even in muslim schools so if a girl can wear her hijab, a boy can also choose to wear his skull cap, keep his beards, and wear his trousers above his ankles; I mean what is good for the goose is good for the gander innit?
Bottom line: we can’t all have our way. If the State Government decides that hijabs are illegal during school hours, its because they’re trying to rule out any religious differences between students. In some schools, there are different dress codes for Christians and Muslims. If in a secular school hijabs and whatnot are allowed, then those students who practice traditional religions can as well bring their own religious items to school without being stereotyped as ‘witches’. This policy is to achieve uniformity in schools and help students realize that whether christian or Muslim, we’re all humans and we’re all Nigerians so why all the fuss?
The Bucket List Goddess 😀 ❤