The continuing disaster on the International School Ibadan (ISI) over the sporting of hijab by Muslim women of the secondary faculty situated within the College of Ibadan is useless and misguided. It’s a harmful misadventure that doesn’t warrant the power, time and emotion dissipated over it, given its far-reaching penalties.
Simply because it was a couple of years in the past in Osun State, when an identical drawback incited college students to an uncontrolled state of juvenile rascality, if the disaster just isn’t instantly contained, it might escalate to spiritual violence and political instability within the state and its environs. Aside from being a take a look at of the civility and liberal environment anticipated in a secular college setting, it additionally offers a chance for all of the events to be educated concerning the legality, morality and cultural prospects of spiritual observances and practices.
In line with a report concerning the disaster, a discussion board of Muslim mother and father, who had been clamouring for using hijab by feminine Muslim pupils had clashed with college college students, inflicting the College of Ibadan administration to shut the varsity. While the discussion board had argued that depriving feminine Muslim college students from utilizing the hijab as a part of the varsity uniform was a denial of their Muslim id, the ISI administration had responded by stating that ISI is a personal, secular faculty, whose costume code, as stipulated within the faculty’s guidelines and regulation, doesn’t accommodate using hijab. Within the reckoning of the ISI administration, by this clamour for using hijab, the Muslim mother and father’ discussion board tried to breach the foundations and laws of the varsity. With nobody shifting fences, the stress appears to be a recipe for dysfunction.
This isn’t the primary time controversy has erupted over faculty uniforms. A number of years in the past in Osun State, the lofty instructional concepts of Governor Rauf Aregbesola have been tainted by faculty uniform controversy, when college students, reacting to hijab-wearing college students contravening the uniform costume code, stormed their faculties in a motley of outlandish attires depicting their non secular affiliations. Similar to the Worldwide College, Ibadan, the hijab subject additionally sparked up within the Worldwide College, College of Lagos years in the past, however was judiciously addressed and prevented from escalating to a burning controversy like ISI’s.
Though many watchers of the occasion lament the mind-bending method and instrumentalisation of spiritual rights by the hijab controversy, the suitable of the feminine Muslim pupil to put on the hijab is a constitutional proper granted by Part 38 (1) of the Structure which states that: “Each particular person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and faith, together with freedom to alter his faith or perception, and freedom (both alone or in group with others, and in public or in non-public) to manifest and propagate his faith or perception in worship, instructing, observe and observance.”
Nevertheless, it must be harassed that initially the hijab was not a spiritual apparel however a mode of dressing of a given folks, who for local weather causes and cultural id adopted that mode of dressing for his or her women and girls. It didn’t matter whether or not the customers have been Christians or Muslims, for it was an emblem of modesty and female allure, and afterward turned an emblem of spiritual id. With the rise of misguided radicalism in sure Muslim quarters, using hijab turned an instrumentalised non secular proper for social mobilisation of Muslims for financial and political energy. Certainly, the Structure grants adherents the suitable to such freedom, which isn’t absolute in any case.
However, on the subject of using the hijab as a element of the varsity uniform of scholars in a secular, non-public faculties like ISI, there’s want for frequent sense and a few stage of public decency to prevail to be able to avert dysfunction, menace to public peace that will come up from the conflict of rights. Which is why each events also needs to be guided by the supply of Part 45(1) of the Structure which states: “Nothing in sections 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 of this Structure shall invalidate any legislation that’s fairly justifiable in a democratic society (a) within the curiosity of defence, public security, public order, public morality or public well being; or (b) for the aim of defending the rights and freedom or different individuals.”
As this newspaper counselled a couple of years in the past, the hijab, as instrumentalised in the present day and because the Muslim mother and father’ discussion board needs the general public to consider is a costume code for non secular id. If that’s the case, its objective is completely different from that of the varsity uniform. Whereas the hijab tells a beholder that the one vested in such apparel is a Muslim, the varsity uniform identifies the wearer as one who belongs to this or that faculty. It doesn’t inform whether or not the wearer is a Christian or a Muslim; and it needn’t try this, as a result of the premise for affiliation doesn’t relaxation on any non secular affiliation, however on the truth that one belongs to that faculty. Thus, if one should invoke the non secular injunction on sartorial affairs, one should try this inside the non secular universe of the group that mandates such social comportment.
Past the aim of id, the varsity uniform suggests self-discipline and conformity. By its use, college students study the values of loyalty, comradeship and esprit de corps amongst these with whom the varsity apparel is recognized. Thus, because the time period suggests, the varsity uniform is an emblem of uniformity.
To this finish, the aggrieved mother and father of ISI would do properly to discourage any fleeting and impulsive response related to fanatics and activists who instrumentalise faith for mundane glory. They need to reflectively ask the query: what worth does the hijab id provide to the wearer past a Muslim costume code for ladies in a personal, secular establishment? If the costume code in itself possesses any non secular, religious worth past the observance and observe of the religion, why are the male college students not instructed to do similar? What would undergo if the hijab just isn’t worn by feminine college students on this time and age? Is it the dressing that defines the spirituality and ethical lifetime of the scholar? Does the lady develop into much less of a Muslim, past the sartorial insignia, if she doesn’t put on the hijab to a faculty that’s statutorily shared by kids of different religions? Does her not sporting the hijab to a secular faculty undermine her integrity as a real devoted?
For individuals who use the hijab to courtroom hassle for the institution and establishments of governance, it is rather unhappy that this ugly state of affairs subsists with the backing of people that should know when and the best way to dissuade bigots and spiritual instrumentalists from dragging our society into the cesspool of that rising international irrationality referred to as non secular bigotry and terrorism.
In an age when center class households the world over are getting higher enlightened concerning the evils of terrorism and harmful instrumentalisation of faith by extremist Christians and Muslims, and are making efforts to curb such evil and construct a world of peace round frequent human values, it’s certainly appalling that sure quarters would fan the embers of dissent, hatred and intolerance in an already unstable setting.
Additionally it is a disgrace that the group that gave this nation its first college may descend to such infamy with marketed effrontery like storage motor-park touts spoiling for a combat. While we’re conscious that there are influential international personalities and establishments desirous of investing in non secular disaster and intolerance, Nigerians must be smart sufficient to not heed to the misanthropic tendencies of those mischief makers. What ought to hassle the minds of Nigerians is how they’ll harness their variations to make the nation stronger and higher.
The mother and father and guardians of ISI college students ought to emulate the civility displayed by these establishments in addressing the difficulty with some modicum of frequent sense, and assist inculcate the values of tolerance, fellow-feeling and peaceable co-existence within the college students.
As we had said in our remark when the identical controversy was rife in Osun state, the ugly situation being performed out by the identical hijab palaver is that kids have unknowingly develop into the helpless puppets of the intemperance of some grownup group within the College of Ibadan. “Kids, who directly have been feted because the beneficiaries of an formidable legacy, have been on the similar time being initiated into the ignoble class of social miscreants.” It is a disgrace!
In settlement with the Part 45 of the Structure as earlier cited, this newspaper needs to state that something that violates uniformity in a studying setting must be thrashed.