Hijab Ban controversy: In Defence Of The honest And Sincere Parties Involved, By Ibrahim Khaleel Muazu
Following the presidential media chat that held on the 30th of December, 2015, a lot of statements from the president have, as
expected, captured the attention of many Nigerians. However, the one that has generated the biggest controversy is the issue of security; the use of young girls by Boko Haram to carry out suicide bombings.
A reporter from Premium Times by the name Ibanga Isine, out of what many consider as either his hatred for Islam and Muslims, Northern Nigeria and northerners, or shear ignorance of religion and National security,
asked or rather suggested to the President the idea of banning Hijab as a means of stopping suicide bombings by Boko Haram. The President, after a deep breathe, answered saying banning hijab is not an option
but if this (suicide bombing using hijab) continues, he will have to consider banning hijab, adding that the people will have to choose between the hijab and their security.
In response to Mr President’s remark, different opinions have been expressed by different group of people. A reasonable number of these
groups are honest and sincere individuals who are either concerned about the sanctity of Islam as a religion, the security of lives or both. I hereby deem it fit to write this piece in support of both groups in order to pave way for mutual understanding in the spirit of National development.
The President is one of those I consider the most sincere, being concerned about the security of our lives as well as the sanctity of our religion. He can do anything within his power to secure the nation and that can be affirmed even by his worst enemy if that enemy is to be honest. That is why the president had to take a deep breath before answering the hijab ban question. However, the fact that banning hijab might not be the best option to stopping suicide attacks should not be overlooked, as this came right from an army general as well as the Commander in Chief of the nation. The president should therefore not be blamed for saying what he said. He should rather be commended for being so much considerate to Nigerians more than I have ever seen in any president in the past.
The religious people among us who have condemned Mr President’s answer to the hijab ban question should also be given some benefit of the doubt as most of them did that out of sincerity and love for their religion. They are also of the opinion that banning hijab will not stop terrorist attack but might trigger more tribulations to the nation. This is born out of the belief that the wrath of God will always befall those who go against His command, and hijab has been commanded by Allah in the Qur’an in no uncertain terms. Also, the fact that security experts like the president himself do not consider banning hijab an option justifies their claims to some extent.
I therefore think that this this group of people do not deserve condemnation or judgement but explanation and dialogue as they are as concerned about the nation’s security as those that are supporting the hijab ban.
The last group I would defend in this piece is the group who support the hijab ban not because they are in anyway undermining Islam but
because they are concerned about human lives which is also considered more precious in Islam that the ‘ka’abah’ itself. They are also of the
opinion that banning the type of hijab the Boko Haram terrorist are using to carry out suicide attacks does not mean banning Muslim women
from covering their body completely as ordained by the Qur’an. Many of them have suggested either adopting the type of veil our mothers and grandmothers used before the advent of this type of hijab or the type of veil being used by Muslim women in the UK, USA, Malaysia or India.
In fact others suggested that we try to come up with a fashion that will cover the body completely and still look beautiful on our sisters, wives and mothers, after all, what Islam requires is covering the body and not wearing a particular type of dress. This group of people do not also deserve blanket condemnation but dialogue and intellectual discussion.
As for the hypocrites who wish that hijab should be banned so that Muslim women would be dressing in a semi-nude way, I consider them a
group of psychologically attacked vagabonds that require our help and prayers. They fail to realise that decent dressing is not only
preached by Islam but by many other religions, except that Islam has gone extra mile by putting the theory into practice. No wonder the
nuns who are considered the most chaste women in Christianity dress in a very decent way similar to that of Muslim women. No wonder Mother Mary who is respected by both Muslims and Christians is shown in all of the pictures attributed to her dressing decently.
It is therefore requisite for all the parties involved in this issue to give each other the benefit of the doubt by having intellectual
discussions for our own collective benefit.
Ibrahim Khaleel Muazu