Former Minister of Aviation, Fani Kayode, has allegedly blamed Amasa Firdaus who was denied ‘call to bar’ by officials of the Council of Legal Education for failing to remove her hijab. The ex-minister said Firdaus was only being childish and disingenuous as Nigeria is a secular state and she could not insist on wearing a religious garb during a secular ceremony.
The Muslim Rights Concern strongly denounces Fani Kayode’s unsolicited comment. It is pregnant with hate, disdain and arrogance. Fani Kayode’s comment is most uncharitable. It is petty, meddlesome and ungentlemanly. Worst still, it is short in chivalry, long in cowardice.
He allegedly tweeted: “You cannot insist on wearing religious garb during a secular ceremony and she is not the first Muslim to be called to the Nigerian bar. Nigeria is a secular state.”
This is absolute bunkum. Does that mean Nigeria does not want to see Muslims? Or that Nigeria does not recognize Muslims as citizens who should enjoy fundamental human rights?
Does that mean Muslims should remove all religious adornments and identifications whenever they attend public programmes? Haven’t we seen bishops and pastors wearing religious robes while attending public and non-religious functions in this country? Has anyone ever demanded that they should remove their Christian garbs?
Will Fani Kayode one day seek public office and expect Muslims to vote for him? We are waiting for the day. While patriotic Nigerians are trying hard to sink their religious differences in order to promote unity in our diversity, people like Fani Kayode are fanning the embers of war through the promotion of primordial sentiment.
When many liberal and level-headed Christians are joining other freedom loving Nigerians to condemn the law school on this extreme and irrational behavior, Fani Kayode could only visualize himself in a crusader’s armour charging furiously with his spear raised to deal a murderous blow on a vulnerable citizen, a defenceless lady for that matter. Where is Fani Kayode’s self-acclaimed heroism? Where is his manliness? So Fani Kayode feels great pleasure in the persecution of a Muslim lady; where is his legal mind? It is our contention that Fani Kayode has lost his legal mind. He is not thinking as a lawyer, but as an unrepentant Muslim hater and a bigoted anti-Muslim crusader.
As we round up, we call on Nigerians to eschew religious discrimination and to see themselves as people of identical destiny regardless of religious background. We appeal to Fani Kayode to stop stirring the hornet’s nest, to love his fellow Nigerian regardless of religious or ethnic background and to learn the basic principles of tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
We warn Nigerians to be wary of people like Fani Kayode who are misleading Nigerians with their erroneous claim that Nigeria is a secular state. Nay, Nigeria is a multi-religious state and confusionists cum demagogues should allow this to sink into their medullae oblongata.
. Being a statement by Prof. Ishaq Akintola, the Director, Muslim Rights Concern.