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Hijab controversy: UI Muslim community breaks silence, warns principal over intimidation of female students

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Hijab controversy: UI Muslim community breaks silence, warns principal over intimidation of female students

The University of Ibadan Muslim Community has for the first time, break silence over the right of female Muslim students to use Hijab (a piece of cloth worn by female Muslim on top of their heads) at the University of Ibadan International School.

The community, which consists staff and students in the institution, while breaking silence since the crises, which surrounded the use of Hijab by female Muslim students at the University of Ibadan International School started, said that the right to use Hijab is an inalienable right of every female Muslim.

Our correspondent recalls that Hijab controversy has since November 2018 been generating a lot of controversies, which made parents of some Muslim students to jointly sue the school, its principal, University of Ibadan and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the school who also doubled as Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the university.

It will be recalled that Oyo State High Court under the leadership of Justice Ladiran Akintola, on 26th June 2019 struck out the suit filed by the parents on the basis that the petitioners are not supposed to file the case jointly.

It was gathered that the Principal of the school, Mrs. Phebean Olowe and other staff of the school had since then been molesting, victimising and persecuting the Muslim students whose parents sue the institution through their parents.

Last Thursday, a parent, Dr. Idris Olabode Badiru, raised an alarm over what he termed as molestation and inhuman treatment of his daughter, Ikhlas Badiru, by the Principal, Mrs. Phebean Olowe, the School Accountant identified as Mr. Odewale and other staff of the school.

Chairman of ISI Muslim Parents Forum, Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Balogun in a statement made available to DAILY POST last Saturday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital noted that it was necessary for all and sundry to prevail because, the school Principal Mrs. Phebean Olowe “is out to precipitate crisis in the school with her high handedness and religious fanatism taken too far.”

But, the Muslim Community in its maiden official statement declared that the use of Hijab is an inalienable right of female Muslim including students across the globe.

UI Muslim Community in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Professor M.T. Lamidi vowed that the Muslims in the institution would do everything possible to ensure that the use of Hijab becomes a reality in the secondary school owned by the tertiary institution.

Lamidi, in the statement obtained by DAILY POST on Wednesday said, “Our position remains that the Hijab is an inalienable right of our Muslim sisters and we will do and are doing everything possible to ensure this becomes reality in ISI.

“We were earlier on constrained by the subjudice of the issue when a case was pending on it. The striking out of the case provided a fillip to its amicable resolution. The UIMC had previously taken advantage of the university release advising anyone who wanted a modification of the uniform to write, staunchly supporting wearing hijab.

“The UIMC acknowledges the support and encouragement of all Muslim organisations on the festering Hijab crisis at the ISI. The community has followed with keen interest different strategies to resolve the crisis. In view of UIMC’s belief in constructive dialogue and diplomacy, the community engaged the University Management on the issue. Since the crisis broke out in November 2018, the UIMC has written three letters and had had meetings with the Management.

“The UIMC is highly disturbed on the latest assault on Wednesday 03/07/2019 where one of our daughters was forced to remove her hijab and humiliated with heavy security as if a notorious criminal had been captured. This, by all intent and purposes, is an assault on the girl child that should not go unpunished. The UIMC waded in immediately it got wind of the news. The UIMC leaders drew the attention of the DVCs (Academic first, then Admin) to the tyrannical rule of ISI and the unruly behaviour of the UI security.

“The leaders demanded that the principal be reprimanded and warned seriously to desist from the path she’s following. The DVC (Academic) later informally apologised for the unruly behaviour of the security. He said they were invited because the child’s parent threatened the school. The intervention of the UIMC leaders has led to the withdrawal of the security and restoration of normalcy in the school. However, the UIMC still wishes to impress it on the administration that ISI being an international school cannot be oblivious of the cultural and religious diversity of such school of repute.

“The UIMC will continue to toe the path of constructive and beneficial engagement of all concerned until the Hijab project becomes a reality. Once more we appreciate the concerns and outpouring of support from our brothers and sisters across the globe. We appeal to all to allow the UIMC exhaust all peaceful avenues for the amicable resolution of the ISI Hijab issue. We remain committed to speedily closing this case so that our children can continue to study in a conducive environment; devoid of acrimony.”

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