Funmi Olaitan, Ibadan
The last has not been heard on the hijab controversy at International School, University of Ibadan, as Muslim Community of Oyo State Wednesday, called on the Federal Government, the National Assembly and others in positions of authority in the country, to intervene in the matter before it escalates.
The call was made in Ibadan, during a press conference organised by Muslim Parents' Forum, UI International School in conjunction with the Muslim Community of Oyo.
Secretary General, Muslim Community of Oyo State, Mr Ismail Busairi, said the call for intervention of Federal Government, authorities of University of Ibadan and others, is to avoid escalation of the issue.
Busari who remarked that wearing of Hijab by female Muslim students is a God-given right enshrined in the constitution of the country however warned that "Muslims will not allow anyone to tamper with their right unchallenged".
He said, "We are calling on government, those in positions of authority to intervene to ensure that this does not escalate. Hijab is a global phenomena, it is a God-given right. It is their right. We have seen case of judges, nurses and even uniform women in other countries putting on Hijab.
"We are calling on Federal Government, government of Oyo state, national assembly, and minister of education to intervene. We want authorities of University of Ibadan to intervene. We want the government, national assembly to come to the aid of the school before it escalates. They are calling for anarchy, we want those in government to come before our God-given right is tampered upon.
"We are notifying the government that the Muslim community of Oyo State will not want to allow the right of the female Muslim students to be tampered with. Hijab is a right under the constitution. We are calling on government to ensure that the right of our children is not tampered with.
"That they should desist from calling us names, they are calling us terrorists. Tell those victimising us to desist from victimising us. If Muslims can wear Hijab in USA, Britain and other countries, we are Nigerians, our children should be allowed to wear Hijab".
Chairman, Muslim Parents' Forum of the school, Mr Abdulrahman Balogun, added that Muslim parents and their children have over the years been calling for the use of Hijab but all efforts to make it work have been turned down by the school management.
According to him, several letters were written to the management of the school on the issue but were not responded to.
He said, "Here we are, we want you to hear from our own side, we want you to hear our own side of the story. I am a parent, my children are in the school. They are profiling Muslim students separately. I have been to many countries, no one does that putting Muslims in a separate class and putting Christians in a separate class. We have written several letters to the principal but up till now they are yet to reply us. We have been suffering in silence".
However all efforts to get the reaction of the school principal, Mrs. Phebean Olowe, proved abortive as journalists were not allowed to see her but were stopped by the security men at the gate.