ISI on lockdown: When religion stands in the way of learning
In the early hours of yesterday, students of the prestigious International School of Ibadan (ISI) made a protest towards the refusal of the school to allow Muslim students to wear hijab.
According to an eyewitness, the students participated in a peaceful protest backed by their parents. The issue of hijab is not new, last year Amasa Firdaus refused to be called to bar if she was not allowed to wear her hijab.
Long-standing institutions like the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and now ISI have rules that disallow females from wearing hijab.
While some of the parents are of the opinion that religion should not stand in the way, others are saying religion should not be forced down the throat of the school.
Speaking to an alumnus of the school, he said, “I have nothing against anyone putting it on but it will create division even among the Muslims. I have experienced situations in higher institutions where a Muslim brother or sister wearing kimar refused to reply my ‘salaams’ and won’t even greet or talk to me just because I shook a lady’s hands and my trousers are touching the ground. This is where all these things will eventually lead to.”
The school’s governing board met last week Wednesday to decide on the terms by the Muslim Parents’ Forum. They came to the conclusion that the rule book of the school stands, as ISI is not a religious institution.
This did not go down well with the group. Dapo thinks the hijab is not a “head covering”, it’s a “hair covering”. The school has been shut down indefinitely leaving students with a disruption in their academic pursuit.
For how long will religion separate us from doing the right thing and remaining focused on the things that matter? Every child should be allowed access to education no matter their religion.