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Nigerian Parents Sue School Over Hijab Ban

LAGOS – Nigerian Muslim parents sued a school in Ibadan, Nigeria after the administration barred 11 Muslim girls from wearing hijab in classrooms. Muslim News reported on December 3.

The ISI Muslim Parents Forum asked the court to declare the action of the school “a violation of the students’ rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom from discrimination… and right to education as guaranteed by the constitution of Nigeria.”

The case was filed and the court will hear the case on December 21 after weeks of controversy and counter protests which resulted in a temporary closure of the International School Ibadan (ISI).

The latest hijab controversy comes weeks after Nigeria’s Lagos government officially endorsed its use across schools. This came two years after appeals court struck down an official memo restricting the use of hijab, declaring it unconstitutional and violation of rights to religious freedom.

Headscarves or hijab in Islamic Shari’ah is an obligatory item for adult Muslim women. Moreover, it has increasingly become a symbol of Muslims’ rejection of the British colonial legacies in Nigerian public life.

In 2017, a Muslim female law graduate was barred from a call to bar event in the capital Abuja for wearing a hijab that drew anger across the Muslim West African country.

Barrister Firdaus Amasa was later called to the bar with her headscarf after the country’s council on legal education backed down.

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Nigeria is not only a Muslim country but it also has the largest Muslim population in the entire region of West Africa. The CIA Factbook estimates that 50% of Nigerians are Muslims while the BBC estimates this to be slightly over 50%.