Reflection At Fajr: On Muslim Voice, Identity and Participation

We have always face religious apartheid in this part of the country. Islam is seen as a total aberration in the entire public domain right from the colonial times.

It strange to declare Islamic identity in school or workplace, in hospital or mall. You give your Muslim name, they ask if you don’t have another name.

You go for job interview, the ask who introduce to the company in the first instance, you appear a decent and brilliant Muslim, they tell you you’re too good to be a Muslim, you’re well groomed and speak flawless English, they are awed and express disbelief.

They think every Muslim should be a butcher or bicycle repairer, a roadside mechanic or neighborhood tailor.

When they see a promising .Muslim child they pump christian scripture into his head to confuse and derail him. Muslim ladies are their targets for marriage.

They stifle for the Muslim the entire public space. SOP is a compulsory item in our list of books in schools where Muslims are in majority but cannot say the Kalimah on the Assembly Ground every morning.

When our daughters try to be modest with just scarf, they earn six strokes. Now, Muslims who simply say this is unfair are branded extremists and blackbooked and targeted for expulsion.

Our hospitals are alternate or proxy churches so Muslim children learn to sing christian hymns from the womb. Over they years, our world had been intricately Christianised but merely calling the adhan is Islamisation.

When you get into the silent mode and your lips move for adhkar in the bus, they shift from you as if you are a plague. Now, bring out your pocket Quran for tilawah, they tear of as if you’re a mad man.

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Yet in public transport, it is their freedom to disturb your peace for an entire journey with invasive or obtrusive evangelist. You say this is wrong and they say evil spirit is residing in you.

But if a Muslim tries a bus Dawah, he is shouted down. Now, our daughters want their freedom to appear decently in Hijab while they enjoy their own freedom to be naked or skimpy, they began palaver, yanking off our girls mark of honor, locking out of the classroom or the school entirely.

And you tell me we have right to identity or freedom to practice our faith. You tell me there is fairness or justice.

What kind of fairness or justice is it that must keep us in perpetual silence or at the backstage while they occupy the front seat of the public life? What kind of fairness and justice is it that relegate us to minority status in a country where our number is the highest.

Now we say No to our lack of voice, identity and participation in the Nigerian polity or public affairs, they say we we are pursuing an Islamisation Agenda? Is this fair and just on us?

Yet this is what we have with or on since the colonial era and they described as Intolerant. What then is tolerance?

By Ustaadh Abdulwaarith


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