Please allow me space in your widely read newspaper to refute remarks made by Salieu Ebou John concerning the Islamic religious practice of Hijab (covering of one’s whole body except the hands up to the wrist, a compulsory Islamic religious injunction) and the Nikab (covering of one’s entire body including the face, an optional practice) which according to him should be checked.
In his write-up Mr John cited the Serahuli and the Fulas as the ones that practise the act and expressed that religious fundamentalism is setting in in The Gambia and that a theft case involved one of those veiled women.
Unlike Mr John, I will base my rebuttal of his allegations on authentic references from the Holy Qur’an as he doesn’t seem to know or understand the reason behind women wearing the veil. Allah mentioned in the glorious Qur’an in Surah Noor, chapter 24, verse 31 “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons….”
In Surah Ahzaab, chapter 33 verse 59, the creator said, “ O prophet tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad) that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most merciful”. The above are the reasons for Muslim women wearing the veil.
On the subject of tribalism, it is unbecoming of Mr John to cite the Serahuli and Fulas but I want to put it to him that tribes must not be attached to the Islamic practice, it is forbidden to practise tribalism in Islam as Allah mentioned in the glorious Qur’an, in Surah Al Hujurat, Chaper 49, verse 13 “O you men! Surely we have created you of a male and female and made you tribes and families so that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); surely Allah is knowing, aware.”
On fundamentalism, I want to put it to Mr. John that it is inflicted harm of the secular media which has made people believe that is wrong to be a fundamentalist Muslim. A fundamentalist is a person who knows, follows and practises the fundamentals of a particular subject. It is therefore wrong to paint all fundamentalists with the same brush, depending in which field a person is a fundamentalist, you have to label him accordingly, for example a fundamentalist rapist must appear distinct and distinguishable from a fundamentalist Muslim, who knows, follows and strives to practise the fundamentals of Islam.
Finally, on the subject of Islamic practices and crime, I must admit that it is unfortunate that the secular media has been bombarding the world with false and unsubstantiated allegations maligning the peaceful Islam (the fastest growing religion in the world) as violent. When people criticise they must direct their criticisms to Muslims rather than Islam. There is no teaching of Islam that is against humanity as a whole, instead it is the Muslims that err and thus the need for repentance. A case in point is attaching the word terrorism to Islam when the two words are quite the opposite.
The so-called war on terror has been counterproductive and has claimed the lives of numerous innocent people in the world. It is high time we realized that a criminal is a criminal irrespective of his religion. Until this is accepted and practiced, the so-called war on terror will remain an unwinnable war. When a new car handed to a driver is destroyed in accidents, which do you blame, the car or the driver? In this case the car being Islam and Muslims being the drivers.
Yours in the service of humanity, I remain.