The hijab crisis rocking the International School Ibadan (ISI), located inside the University of Ibadan, continued on Wednesday as some parents of students of the school stormed the office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Abideen Aderinto, to protest against the closure of the school as well as the activities of some Muslim parents.
The protesting parents, under the auspices of “Concerned Parents of Students of the International School, University of Ibadan” gathered at the UI admin block as early as 7.30 am on Wednesday, displaying placards and comdemning the actions of some parents insisting on the use of hijab by female Muslim students.
They accused the Muslim parents of attempting to disrupt the school’s academic activities as well as the love and unity already exisiting among the children who do not see religious barriers among themselves.
Some Muslim parents had written a letter to the school management and Governing Board, stating that their female children must be allowed to wear hijab on their school uniforms. The letter was titled, “Notification of Muslim Parents’ Resolution on Hijab for our Musilm girls in ISI”.
The school was first closed down last week when some female students turned up wearing hijab, few days after their parents submitted the letter to the school principal. Academic activities were suspended that day as the school management considered their action as a contravention of the dress code. But the Muslim parents continued to insist on the hijab.
Monday’s closure was the second closure as the crisis lingered even after the governing board’s decision on November 14, to maintain status quo while the issues are sorted.
The Concerned ISI parents on Wednesday during the protest, visited the DVC and submitted their protest letter in which they called for the school to be reopened and adequate security provided for their children, especially as students were about to begin internal and external examinations.
In the letter made available to Newspeakonline, the concerned parents said: “We wish to state that the current dress code/uniform of the students of ISI, which has been in use since inception (about 55 years ago), has no religious coloration, is good enough and sufficient to fulfill our moral obligations to the children. It should not be a subject of discussion out of the jurisdiction of the constituted Board of Governors as done by this Muslim Parents Forum.”
According to the parents, who had among them Christians, Muslims, Traditional worshippers and non-religious individuals, “the unfortunate events of the past one week have serious implications on learning, psyche and social environment in the school.
“For instance, it is obvious that the divisive action like the religious colouration of the school uniform may promote discrimination and foster disunity. While these Muslim parents appear comfortable with confrontation, strife and violence, we wish they could be helped to realize that this stance is injurious to the psyche of children. We all owe our children the responsibility of raising them up as law abiding citizens, who have utmost respect for constituted authority and do all to uphold same and not otherwise, under whatever guise”.
The DVC who received the protesting parents letter in his office, promised to ensure that the matter is resolved peacefully. He however appealed to all sides in the crisis to exercise restraint and avoid words or actions that may further enflame the crisis.
The Concerned Parents’ letter was signed by Barrister Olalekan Thanni, Babaawo Awosanmi Abe and Olusola Aleshinloye.