Faith-based uniforms: Lagos MSSN replies Soyinka

Prof. Wole Soyinka

Prof. Wole Soyinka

The Muslim Students’ Society of ‎Nigeria, Lagos State Area Unit (MSSN Lagos) has faulted the statement allegedly made by Prof. Wole Soyinka that faith-based uniform be disallowed in schools.

MSSN Lagos In a statement by its President (Amir), Mallam Saheed Ashafa, the Muslim group lamented that a person of Soyinka’s calibre could make what it described as “an un-informed statement on education and human right.”

According to the group, Soyinka erred by failing to recognise that the current uniform worn by students in schools was already faith-based.

It said, “‎It should be noted that the statement by Soyinka is one sided and a calculated attack on the agitation for equality through request for the wearing of Hijab on school uniform. It should be clearly stated that the current school uniform in all government schools is already Christian-school uniform with beret for females and short for males as against Hijab and trousers for Muslims.

“It is obvious that Muslims are the only one denied our religious right. Or is Soyinka trying to say that students should begin to wear their indigenous outfit, meaning Yoruba students or students studying in Yorubaland will begin to wear Iro, buba and gele or Agbada and Sokoto with fila as against the faith-based uniform currently being worn? It’s high time equality was granted instead of running around the bush.”

The group warned Governors of States already respecting religious differences not fall for the ill-advice that were capable of disrupting the existing peace and could cause confusion.

MSSN Lagos added that it was more interested in the co-operation and peaceful co-existence, stating that would be fast tracked by respecting religious differences and peculiarities.

It further clarified that it was not saying students of other religion should be deprived of their currently enjoyed rights, but that Muslim students should also be granted theirs.

“It is obvious that such a comment from people like Soyinka is part of what some state governments and principals in Lagos State are hiding under to give room for the flogging, molestation and harassment of students for dressing modestly and following the dictate of morality, despite the fact that freedom of religion is firmly entrenched in international laws and the constitutions of countries around the world, including the Nigerian Constitution.

“Of course, Prof. Soyinka won’t deny to be aware of the position of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which emphasised that freedom (of religion) encompasses the right to wear religiously distinctive clothing or head coverings before making such comment,” the group noted.

Lagos MSSN also discountenanced what it described as the “faithless campaign” of Soyinka, saying it would increase social vices in the society. “It is high time we realised that certain ideologies can only operate as an illusion. They are philosophical and not ideal for societal growth. Such is the faithless campaign and school of thought of Soyinka. ‎ The outcome of such if preached among students will be cultism, thuggery, kidnapping, robbery and raping among others,” it noted.

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