The highest result of Education is Tolerance (Helen Keller, 1903). There is a need to look inward on the matters that dismantle the peaceful coexistence in our society. In a multi ethnic society that share the bond of religion, tolerance is pertinent. Tolerance can never be achieved if one group plays God. If we are to live in peace, we must come to know each other better (Lyndon B Johnson, 1965)
When I lived in the Muslim community of different cultural groups in the North and South of Nigeria, I enjoyed the freedom of existence in my relationship with them.
In the Northern part of Nigeria, they don’t entertain jokes especially at the expense of their religion. Religion comes first in everything they do. If you are to live in their community, you must respect their position on religion. So it is in India, where Cows are worshiped. Out of the 29 States in India, 20 states prohibit Cow slaughtering. Slaughtering a Cow for any reason is tantamount to killing their God. Peace connot be kept by force, it can only be kept by understanding (Albert Einstein)
I have spent many years in Academics and I have a bank of experience on how we oppress the Muslims by depriving them their rights.
When I left Obafemi Awolowo University some years ago, there was only one Muslim lecturer in the Faculty of Pharmacy. Out of the Twenty one Lecturers in the Department of Educational Foundation and Counseling, only Dr Sobowale was a Muslim. The Department of Medicine under the Leadership of a Professor who is also the General Overseer of a Church, witnessed an Era where competent Doctors were denied their right of employment because of their Muslim religion. I was sad when I heard that the Small spot on the deck of the Health Sciences building where the Muslim students observe their prayers have been closed whereas classes or any spot in the faculty premises are open to Christian students for fellowship or Devotion without infringement. Christian lecturers have tried in many ways to cancel the Space were the Muslims observe their prayers in the Geology Car park but Professor Ramon of the Geology Department has played a major role in maintaining the spot.
In many occasions, I have intervened in cases were Christian Project Supervisors enforce Christianity on their Project students. They use Christianity as a prerequisite to excellence. I have fought Christian lecturers who deprive some muslim ladies their rights to wear the hijab. These sinful Lecturers never fight against the Catholic Sisters who come to classes, Laboratory, Examination halls and Seminars wearing the Catholic Ragalia or those students who dress like Harlots but their problem is the hijab.
On the 29th day of November, 2021, Dr Awoseemo who served has the Principal of School of Nursing and Midwifery, Obafemi Awolowo University, pressurized the Muslim Nursing students to sign an undertaking stating that they will not use the hijab in the school premises.
On the 5th of February, 2013, According to the Punch News Paper, the Principal of Kadara Junior Grammar School in Lagos State; E. C. Ukpaka, flogged a Muslim student; Aisha Alabi for putting on the hijab. If Ukpaka had beaten the student 5 or 10 strokes, it wouldn’t have bothered the public but 43 stokes of cane is harsh and inhumane.
In September 2019, The Premium Times published a news where 30 Professors of the University of Ibadan submitted a petition against the school Authority for scheduling Senate meetings to Friday Prayer times. Some Christian Lecturers also fix Classes to Friday Jumat time.
This is not the right platform to discuss how the Christians in leadership Positions in Universities and Government Parastatals deny the Muslims of Job opportunities, Scholarships, Grants, or Work benefits.
In all my years of work, I have enjoyed working under a Muslim faithful than a Christian Devot. A Faithful Muslim will not deny you a job opportunity because of your faith. He will not beat a Christian Nun because of her Regalia. He will not stop you from morning devotions or force you to join him while he is praying. He will not abuse Jesus Christ or Holy Mary.
Tolerance is the best religion. As Christians, we must stop the oppression and cease to preach hatred towards the Muslims. They are not our enemies. We need to teach our children that Christianity is not Superior to Islam and the Pastor is not Holier than the Imam.
Either men will learn to live like brothers or die like beasts (Max Learner, 1949)