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Hijrah Day: Declare tomorrow public holiday, MURIC tells FG

 

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on the Federal Government to declare Tuesday 11th September, 2018 as a public holiday in recognition of the first day of the Islamic calendar for the year 1440 AH (i.e. 1st Muharram, 1440 After Hijrah).

In a reminder statement signed by the Director of the organisation, Prof. Ishaq Akintola at the weekend, MURIC contended that the FG has always declared January 1 as public holiday for the Christians while ignoring the Muslims’ 1st Muharram, this, according to the group, is not fair.

“We still stand by our demand for the declaration of 1st Muharram as Hijrah Day. We remind FG of our press statement issued on January 3rd 2018 in which we called attention to FG’s declaration of 1st January every year as holiday for Nigerian Christians. We demanded recognition for 1st Muharram of every year for Muslims.

“It must be emphasised that Islamic organisations (not MURIC alone) have been making this demand through petitions and appeals dating back to the 60s but successive administrations have turned the deaf ear to their pleas.

“Today’s reminder serves as a notice for the approach of 1st Muharram, 1440 AH which corresponds to Tuesday, 11th September (next week). Today is 26th Dhul Hijjah. Next Monday is 30th Dhul Hijjah (i.e. last day of 1439 AH) while the following day; Tuesday is 1st Muharram, 1440 AH i.e. the first day of the Islamic calendar.

“However, FG still needs to consult the leadership of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) for the confirmation of the date. MURIC has no mandate to identify any particular day. That power rests with the NSCIA. Our concern stops at spreading the Muslim liberation theology and sustaining the emancipation struggle until freedom is actualised.”

MURIC however stated that it is not calling for the cancelation of 1st January as public holiday.

“The declaration of every first day of the Islamic year as a holiday is one of the steps that FG should take towards deradicalisation. It will send a strong message to Sambisa that the FG is addressing some of the grudges mentioned by Muslims. It may eventually lead to the surrender of large numbers of insurgents. It can be used by liberal Muslims to soften the hearts of elements of the extreme left. This is how nations seeking genuine integration win wars and not ordinary battles.

 “In summary, we remind FG that Nigerian Christians enjoy five different holidays while their Muslim counterparts have three only.

“In the spirit of fairness, equity and justice, FG needs to allow the dividends of democracy to reach Nigerian Muslims too by giving them 1st Muharram as holiday. This will only bring Muslim holidays to four while Christians continue to enjoy five.”

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