Hijab Controversy: Authorities Of UI International School, Ibadan, Shut It Down

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The Oasis Reporters

November 19, 2018

ISI shut down.
Photo source: Inside Oyo

The University of Ibadan International School has been shut down indefinitely as an outcome of the struggle by a group of concerned Muslim parents who insist that their daughters must come to school in Hijab, another headgear to differentiate them as Muslims.

The school was shut down indefinitely on Monday morning, November 19, 2018.

A release placed at the main gate of the school early Monday morning said that the school has been shut down until further notice.

It stated thus, “Notice. The International School, University of Ibadan has been closed down until further notice. Please, take note”.

Some members of the Old Students Association took to the social media to ventilate their views.

One of them, Dayo Awe from Washington DC, wrote :

“What exactly does this Hijab thing signify for Islam? Is it a fashion statement? Is it an indication of piety?
If it is a preference thing or a fashion statement then Mazino and others who were in ISI at the time I was, would remember how some people’s preferences for jeans under their shirts always got them in trouble….it wasn’t part of the uniform and when you attempted to circumvent the rule, you were disciplined for that……Hijab also isn’t part of the uniform…. some schools have no uniforms, so by all means what you wear is not likely to be regulated unless of course, it falls below standards of decency……. As for it being an indicator of piety, I will strongly and forcefully disagree… just like the tag of Pastor or whatever doesn’t guarantee that someone is not a sexual molester, a thief of tithes and offerings or a morally decadent person… the hood does not make the Monk… the Hijab doesn’t make the pious Muslim lady!

Akinlolu Ajayi-Obe responded to an earlier comment on insinuations over who owns the school:

“ISI is not a government funded school. Some of us who went there know that”

Tajudeen Olaitan Lawal responded on why Muslims want their daughters to dorn Hijab while growing up for it is the best time to indoctrinate the girls:

“Islam has a dress code for their women as stipulated in the Quran.
When do you start indoctrinating the children if not when they are young ? Otherwise we would be breeding a rebellious generation.

Enefiok Peter added:

“Then send your wards to Koranic schools if that is so important to you. After all, there are so many Anwar Rudeen schools everywhere. You don’t change the rules for the schools. Either you accept or you leave it. Must your wards get educated there?”

Ogeoma Ukeka commented thus :

“I was in ISI in the 70s, I want to believe Islam was existent then, and there were Muslims amongst us as students. There was no Chapel or Mosque in the school and I don’t think that made my mates as at then less Christian or Muslim now. This whole thing is surprising. If you don’t want to follow the dress code, take your child to an Islamic school. For the Christian’s you can take your child to Catholic, Missionary or related schools. For the rest of us, let us be”.

With the school being shut down and powerful forces from outside and inside weighing in on the matter, chances of an early resolution seems slightly far-fetched. While the insistent Muslim parents see it as recognition of current diversities, non Muslims believe in retaining the age long identity the school has been noted for.

Those who understand the history of the school recall that the foundation of the institution was based on Western liberal principles, just like the premier university of Ibadan the school acts as one of the feeders, started with a foundation based on the precepts of the British colonial masters that set up the 70 year old University.

However there are full fledged Islamic religious knowledge and Arabic language departments in the University.
Many Muslims who had their education in the liberal traditions of the International School, Ibadan still remain pious Muslims today and not all of them agree on a different dress code for Muslim Students for the sake of inclusiveness. There are also traditional religion practitioners who attend the school.

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Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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