Let Fridays Be Work Free Demands Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

The president of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has listed its six-point demand to the restructuring committee. The demand released on Monday,12 October 2017 as reported by Tori News reads;
“One: Nigerians enjoy a total of eight (8) public holidays in a year. These are
Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Id
al-Kabir, Id al-Fitr and Maulud an-Nabiyy. Five (5) of the eight holidays belong
to Christians (Christmas Day, Boxing Day, 1st January, i.e, New Year Day,
Good Friday and Easter Monday). Only three (3) holidays belong to Muslims,
viz, Id al-Kabir, Id al-Fitr and Maulud an-Nabiyy.
”Restructuring should give Muslims 1st Muharram. This will bring the total
number of Muslim holidays to four while Christian holidays remain five.
”Two: Christian marriages contracted inside churches or registries are held
sacrosanct everywhere in Nigeria whereas Muslim marriages (nikah) are not
recognized for any official purpose. Muslim couples find themselves in a cul
de sac each time they presented their Islamic marriage certificates for official
purposes. It is paradoxical that in a democracy, one marriage conducted by a
religious group is acceptable while the other is not. What kind of constitution
is Nigeria using?
”Islamic marriages should be recognized in all official circles where Christian
marriages are recognized. The Nigerian Marriage Act (1990) should therefore
be revisited.
”Three: Nigeria has a two-day weekend, viz, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday
was a half day during the colonial era and Sunday was the only full day at the
weekend. However, Saturday was made a full day to favour the Seventh Day
Adventists, a Christian denomination during the regime of General Yakubu
Gowon, a Christian military ruler. It is very clear, therefore, that the two
weekend days recognized in Nigeria belong to Christians while Muslims have
none since Friday, the Muslim day of worship, remains a working day.
”It is pertinent to note that Friday was a work-free day until the British
brought Christianity and stopped Muslims from enjoying their Allah-given
fundamental human right. The relief we are seeking through restructuring is
that Friday should be declared free to assume parity with the Christians’
Sunday. While we are not seeking anarchy, we are confident that the Federal
Government (FG) has all the paraphernalia of administration to work out the
”Four: Immigration officials engage in regular stereotyping of Muslims who
apply for international passports. They intimidate Muslims particularly at the
point of taking pictures. Muslim males are ordered to remove their caps;
Imams are coerced into removing their turbans; bearded Muslims are
compelled to shave or trim their beards; hijab-wearing Muslim women are
made to remove their hijabs or ordered to draw their hijab backwards to reveal
their ears. The same scenario plays itself out in driving licence, national
identity card offices and during registration for elections.
”In the process, thousands of Muslims have been denied international
passports, driving licences and national identity cards while millions have
been disenfranchised during elections. The authorities must find a way of
stopping the persecution and profiling of Muslims.
”Five: Uniformed groups in Nigeria, including the army, police, uniformed
voluntary groups, nurses, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), students
of primary and secondary schools, etc, use uniforms designed by the
Christian colonialists. These uniforms should have been reviewed after
independence because they only suit the Christians. Some of them constitute
breaches to Islamic dress code and offend the sensibility of Muslims who are
compelled to wear the uniforms regardless of their inner feeling of resentment.
”In view of the fact that Western countries like Britain, Canada and the United
States have designed uniforms with hijab for their female Muslim police,
soldiers, students, etc, Nigeria’s restructuring authorities should borrow a leaf
from those countries.
”Six: There is no single Shari’ah court in South Western Nigeria where
Muslims constitute the majority. This is contrary to what obtained in
Yorubaland before the advent of the British. There were Shariah courts in Ede,
Iwo, Ikirun, Ibadan, etc. Yoruba Muslims are now compelled to take their civil
matters like inheritance, marriage, etc to Christo-Western courts. This is
preposterous and unacceptable.
”We demand the establishment of Shariah courts in all South Western states
including Edo State where there is a significant percentage of Muslims.
”We call the attention of FG and the restructuring committee of the APC to
the above six reliefs. Muslims are in bondage in this country and we believe
that restructuring should emancipate people in captivity. APC promised
change. This change can only be meaningful to us if it breaks the shackles
around our necks. We have begged enough for the restoration of our Allah-
given and fundamental human rights. We are tired of begging. Restructuring is
about reapportioning the dividends of democracy such that it goes round and
it is not restricted to one section.
”Colonial administration was grossly unfair to Muslims. Nigeria was
Christianised by Britain and Muslims bore the brunt. We suffered forceful
conversion, denial of rightful employment and even worse forms of
persecution. But what is most disappointing is the policy of exclusion
adopted by post-independence governments.
”On a final note, we demand full integration and full recognition as bona fide
citizens of Nigeria, not second or third class citizens. We are the aggrieved
party. The British most brutally and most unjustly took all we had from us,
giving us nothing in return and offering no relief. It has continued to give us a
feeling of rejection, marginalization, denial of the dividends of democracy and
lack of a sense of belonging. The time for redress is now and our six-point
relief is here for all to digest.”


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