NASFAT Hails Supreme Court Judgement On Hijab

Chief missioner of Nasrul-Lahi-l-Fatih Society (NASFAT) Imam Abdul-Azeez Onike has said the Supreme Court verdict on hijab has rekindled the group’s faith in the judiciary.

Onike congratulated Muslim women on the victory at the apex court which affirmed their right to dress in accordance with their religious dictate, which commands them to maintain modesty and privacy from unrelated males by wearing the hijab – the Islamic dress for Muslim women.

He said hijab is a symbol of personal space/ownership, privatisation of physical charms and bodily attraction, adding that the decision to wear hijab is a personal statement echoing that a woman’s body is her own private business.

Last Friday, the Supreme Court overruled Lagos State on its restriction of the use of hijab by female Muslim students in the state’s public schools.

In a split decision of five to two of the seven-member panel of justices of the apex court, the court affirmed the July 21, 2016, judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, which set aside the October 17, 2014, judgment by Justice Grace Onyeabo of the High Court of Lagos State, which upheld the hijab restriction.

Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who wrote the lead majority judgment, which was read by Justice Tijani Abubakar, dismissed the appeal filed by Lagos State against the 2016 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos, on the grounds that it lacked merit.

In a statement he issued yesterday, the NASFAT leader said, “Scripturally, the Almighty Allah says, ‘O Prophet, enjoin your wives and your daughters and the believing women to draw a part of their outer coverings around them. It is likelier that they will be recognised and not molested. Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful’ (Q33:59)

“Evidently, modest dressing is a sign of virtue of all religions, as depicted by the images of our highly revered Virgin Mary, may God continue to bless her, not to mention the fact that, various professions and institutions have minimum dress code for men and women, that do not support indecency, immodesty, and nudity,” he said.

Onike said the long unnecessary battle seemed like someone taking pain reliever for someone else’s headache, stressing that “how do you explain someone wanting to dress modestly as required by her religion and another person challenging her on that, whereas, those who challenge women of faith for choosing to dress modestly do not see anything wrong in those who choose to dress almost naked in public all in the name of fashion thereby creating the erroneous impression that women are beauty toys, whose intellectual capability should take a back stage.”

The NASFAT spiritual head said some of the lessons from the rulings are that Muslims would always seek refuge in the state’s recognised judicial platform, by going to court whenever their rights are trampled upon, as against opting for jungle, mob or vigilante justice. It has also reinforced the Muslims’ belief that the court remains the bastion of hope for Nigerian Muslims.

Onike charged Muslims to be magnanimous in victory and ensure that there was no form of abuse of “this God’s support and vindication” and appealed to government agencies and educational institutions to respect the rights of Muslims to worship including allowing workers and students alike to observe the Friday prayers at the stipulated time.

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