Muslims, under the auspices of The Muslim Congress (TMC) in Ogun State, have appealed to the State Government to save their children from the tyranny and persecutions of religious bigots in the state public schools.
The Waali (State Chairman) TMC, Dr Ibrahim Ogunkoya, made this appeal in a statement on Thursday in Abeokuta.
Ogunkoya expressed worry over how Muslim students in public schools in were being persecuted and forced to act contrary to their religious belief.
“Our children are not only forced to act contrary to their religious belief, but they are also being coerced to pray in Christian manners, memorise Christian hymns and subjected to different bodily and psychological torture for refusing to act accordingly,” he said.
Ogunkoya alleged that some teachers and staff in the public schools were hiding under the guise of instruction of the state government, through a memo by the Ministry of Education to disallow willing female students to use hijab but compel them to use Christian symbols of the beret.
“We have been inundated with reports from Muslims across the state on how fanatical Christians, acclaimed atheists and traditionalists practically turn some of the public schools to the extension of their churches, shrines and promotion of the idea of ‘no God’ or worship centres.
“They claimed that some of the public schools ‘originally’ belong to them but were now owned by the government and therefore they must be run and operated as full Christian schools without respect for the rights to the religion of Muslim students in the schools.
“We understand how they connived with their collaborators in the government circle to get some of these schools through the back door, which led to increase in the number of children out of school in Ogun State.
“If not for the quick intervention of the present administration in taking over the schools handed over to the Christian’s missionaries to achieve selfish desires, thousands of children would have been denied the right to education.
“We are in the know about efforts being made by some of the sponsors of this persecution to ensure that governorship candidates of political parties in the state were made to reach agreements to do their billings at the expense of the rights of the Muslims.
“Whenever we raise voice against the persecutions of our children, they accused us of not being ‘tolerant’.
“They insisted that we must tolerate their abuse of our children just as they did for our grandparents/forbearers who were forced to denounce Islam all in their quest to have access to education.
“We understand that this is a grand plan to overtly or covertly deny our children right to education in order to continue with their dominance in all sphere of the society,” the Waali said.
TMC advised the government to stop teachers and staff in public secondary schools from receiving instructions from religious leaders to do their biddings against the rights of Muslims in public schools.
“This is to call the attention of the persecutors of our children that grand plans to frustrate Muslims from having access to education in public schools funded by tax-payers’ money have been uncovered and we will do everything within the law and divine power to stop the crusade against us.
“We don’t want to take the law into our hands because a stitch in time saves more than nine.
“We demand from the government to set up a fact-finding panel to public schools in the State to investigate the persecution of our children, remedy the horrible situation and bring perpetrators to book.
“The government should not shy away from its responsibility of protecting our children from the hands of these religious fanatics in the public schools.
“We urge political officeholders, politicians, political parties and their candidates not to be coerced into taking actions that will violate the rights of Muslims in the State due to political considerations.
“We have taken the decision that we are going to withdraw our support and work towards political oblivion of anyone found culpable in this acts.”