From Musliudeen Adebayo, Ibadan
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar on Sunday enjoined Muslims across the country to always demand for their rights, whenever they are being denied within the ambit of the law.
Abubakar gave this advice while speaking at the 4th General Assembly of the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN), themed “Muslim Unity and Contemporary Political Challenges in Nigeria”, held at the University of Ibadan.
Abubakar who doubled as the President General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), while speaking on the recent Hijab crisis at the University of Ibadan International School, maintained that Muslim students have right under the constitution to use Hijab.
He however cautioned those advocating for the use of Hijab and various organisations championing the welfare of Muslims in the country to demand for their rights within the ambit of the law. He advised Muslims them to always seek redress in a peaceful manner instead of open confrontations.
“Muslims must be law abiding, the moment we are attacking each other, then there will be no peace. So we need peace. And we have been doing our own in silence. I urged all of you to be law abiding. The issue is at the Court and since it is in the Court, we can’t make further statement, so that we don’t commit contempt of the Court.
“Demand for your rights within the ambit of the law. I urged all of you to be patience because Almighty Allah loved the patience ones. On the issue of Hijab at the University, there are some organizations that are advocating for it, let them continue advocating, but at our own level we have been doing ours silently. In the constitution, we have freedom of religion. If my religion allows me to wear Hijab, nobody should stop me. So our politicians and leaders must know that. All these issues have been politicised.
“But, I want to assure you that people are free to do what their religion permit them to do. I want to thank the MUSWEN for inviting me here. And I want to charge MUSWEN that in 11 years what have you achieved in the area of education. Now, we have so many universities, how many of these are owned by Muslim organizations. Where are our Muslim brothers and sisters that Almighty Allah has blessed?’
“If people are engaged, they will be enjoying. We need employment opportunities for the youth. We need to create jobs. We need to establish more industries in the rural areas and villages. There are some people in the villages that need little capital. If is only our political leaders that will be thinking of mansions.
“Let us face our challenges as Muslims. I want you to do more. There are challenges. Do more. Our doors are opened. And don’t allow politicians to smear Islam. When we are not in unity, the politicians will be happy that we are not in unity”.
Chairman MUSWEN Education Committee, Professor Muibi Opeloye while delivering his paper entitled “Muslim Unity and Contemporary Political Challenges in Nigeria”, urged Muslim who are in the corridor of power not to mind their political differences but unite when issues of national importance are being discussed.
The Professor of Islamic Studies recommended that “The multi-party system that recognises ninety-one political parties is unwieldy. The number has to be drastically reduced. I consider seven be manageable and it is so recommended. Muslims in the Parliament should regardless of their party affiliation always unite to support not only matters of Islamic concern, but also matters of national interest in furtherance of national development”.