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Groups demand holiday for Islamic New Year

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Islamic groups have reiterated their called on the Federal and state governments in Nigeria to declare Muharram 1, the first day of the Islamic Hijrah Calendar, as a public holiday.

The groups, in separate Hijrah 1440 A.H messages, said such a declaration would be in line with the rule of law, fairness and justice to Muslims in Nigeria.

Muslim faithful from the Ya Lateef Islamic Society sit as they pray into the New Year at Ibafo, Ogun State in southwest of Nigeria on December 31, 2017. Dozens of Muslim faithful of the Ya Lateef Islamic Society concluded forty-days of Muslim fasting to usher members into the new year in Ibafo land, Ogun State in southwest Nigeria ./ AFP

The demand came from Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN), Obafemi Awolowo University Muslim Graduates Association (UNIFEMGA) and Muslim Community of Oyo state (MUSCOYS).

Others include Muslim Consultative Forum (MCF), Federation of Muslim Women in Nigeria (FOMWAN) and Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN).

MMPN in its statement signed by its President, Abdurrahman Balogun, urged the Federal Government to give recognition to Muslim New Year in the interest of fairness.

Balogun said that declaring Muharram 1, a public holiday would give Muslims a sense of belonging.

“Muharram 1, is our own January 1, we want both the Federal and state governments alike to declare it as such in the interest of religious harmony in the country”, Balogun said.

In the same vein, UNIFEMGA in its message signed by Abdulwaheed Odeyimka , its National President, called on the government at various levels to recognise the Hijrah calendar and use it side by side with the Gregorian calendar.

It congratulated Muslims and non-Muslims alike for witnessing another new Islamic year and urged them to reflect on their deeds and activities during the past year.

Also, FOMWAN through her National Amirah, Hajia Halimah Mustapha called for stringent legislation against rapists in the country, saying it was getting too rampant because the culprit always get away with it.

The Muslim women also decried the denial of some schools, especially government-owned, of Muslim girls of wearing head scarf (hijab) in line with the dictates of their faith as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution.

On its part, the Muslim Consultative Forum (MCF) implored Muslims to rededicate themselves to the cause of building an egalitarian society and join hands with other Nigerians in moving the nation forward.

MSSN in its Hijrah message hailed those governors who had declared Muharram 1, as public holiday, and urged other state governors as well as the Federal government to tow the same line.

The Muslim students group also expressed worries on the political tension being created by politicians ahead of 2019 general election.

It’s National President, Dr Taofik Yekeen urged politicians to play the game according to the rules and warned Muslim students against being used as thugs by desperate politicians.

 

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