An Islamic group, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has kicked against the examination timetable of the National Open University (NOUN) for the year 2022.
The organisation accused NOUN of preparing an examination timetable that leaves no room for Jumu‘ah prayer.
According to the group, Muslim candidates were thereby forced to sit examinations under duress while Muslim invigilators were compelled to work in a dehumanising condition.
The group described the examination timetable as anti-Muslim and neo-imperialist, according to a press statement sent to SaharaReporters on Thursday by the director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads, “The timetable of the 2022 POP Final Examination Timetable released by the National Open University (NOUN) has revealed that Muslim students and Muslim staff of the institution were forced to take the aforementioned examination and invigilate the same respectively during the period of the Jumu‘ah prayer from Tuesday 19th April to Tuesday, 17th May, 2022.
“The infringements on Allah-given fundamental rights of the Muslim students and staff occurred on Friday 22nd and 29th April, 2022. Unless adequate steps are taken by the authorities of NOUN to correct the anomaly, it is most likely to continue on Friday, 6th and 13th May, 2022 (https://eu.docworkspace.com/d/sINKanrWRAajrupMG).
“For those who may be wondering what is wrong if Muslim students and staff are made to take and invigilate examinations during the Jumu‘ah period on Friday, it is akin to compelling Christian students and staff to write examinations and to invigilate on Sunday mornings.
“This cannot be acceptable to Nigerian Christians and it is for the same reason that it is a taboo among Muslims and anybody who forces them to do it is regarded as standing between them and their freedom to worship Almighty Allah, their Supreme Creator. It is not only outrageous, repulsive and detestable, it is also anti-Muslim and neo-imperialist. It smacks of articulated religious fanaticism.
“Already, the NOUN authorities have infringed upon Allah-given fundamental human rights of Muslim students and staff involved in the examination exercise on two different Jumu‘ah service days, namely, Friday 22nd April and Friday 29th April, 2022.”
Demanding an apology from the open university, the Islamic group said, “Why do you hate Muslims so much? What have we done to deserve this?
“We demand an unreserved apology from NOUN for the infringement which occurred on those two days and for subjecting Muslim candidates and staff to immeasurable psychological trauma which affected their performance during the examinations.
“Furthermore, we demand the cancellation of all examination papers scheduled for the Jumu‘ah period this coming Friday, 6th May and Friday 13th May, 2022.
“The chairmen of MURIC in all 36 states have been directed to locate the examination centres throughout the country on Friday 6th and Friday 13th of May with the aim of monitoring compliance with our demand. This must be done without resorting to violence and with utmost civility and decorum. MURIC will consider its next step if NOUN fails to comply.”
It also accused NOUN authorities of showing the “highest degree of insensitivity to the feelings of Muslims” and “disrespect for their religion by preparing an examination timetable that leaves no room for Jumu‘ah prayer…”
“The examination timetable is anti-Muslim and neo-imperialistic,” it added.
“From all indications, NOUN authorities are on the verge of Christianising the institution. For violating the spirit and letter of Section 38(i) & (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, this timetable and the attendant examinations taken during Jumu‘ah period are illegal, illegitimate, unlawful and unconstitutional.
“We affirm that there must be consequences for religious persecution and spiritual particularism. We are going to hold Muslim-haters accountable for their hate-inspired acrobatic religiosity and bias-filled gymnastic spirituality. We will not relent until Muslim-haters learn how to control their luciferous, serpentine and egregious abhorrence for Muslims.”