By George Makeri
Barrister Malcolm Omirhobo has just tested the hypocrisy of islamists of the third estate (judiciary). Islamists want others to tolerate their culture and are quick to accuse others of intolerance when these others protest religious adulteration of a secular state; but they (islamists) can’t stand other people’s culture one bit. Why must the Supreme Court go on recess because of Malcolm’s traditional attire to court following their ruling? Is it that the Supreme Court can not swallow its own medicine?
Nigeria is a secular state, not by choice, but by necessity to allow for inclusiveness of the different belief systems that constitute the peoples within its geography for harmonious co-existence. Even countries with over 80% homogenous belief system still understand the retrogression of marriage between religion and state – I am talking about a largely protestant country like the USA and their largely Catholic counterpart like France.
The United States can adopt a state religion given that they are largely a protestant christian country, but they didn’t. As far back as 1787, their founding fathers drafted their constitution with the first amendment divorcing religion from the state, granting freedom of religion, speech and association. This amendment was ratified in 1791.
The french revolution of 1789 started the idea of french secularism known as ‘Laicite’, but it took untill 1905 to constitutionalise it in their Article 1. After the 1917 Russian revolution, the country, though a christian populated country, not only separate religion from the state, but restricted religious activities as well until 1990 when it lifted some restrictions.
Even Turkey, with it’s over 80% muslims and the heart of the defunct Ottoman Empire, is a secular Muslim-majority country. I don’t want to mention Indonesia with 87%. Coming back to Africa, you find Senegal with 95.9% Muslims remaining secular.
There is a reason religion has to be divorced from the state, even by some muslim-majority countries. The agitation for this separation started as far back as the 16th century. Marriage between religion and the state was retrogressive and largely responsible for senseless slaughter and stagnation of humanity in general. We have the inquisition era, the suppression of protestants in France, the suppression of catholics in Ireland by English colonialists and etc.
Researchers and intellectuals dare not think outside the holy writ (bible), least they be accused of blasphemy and burnt at the stakes. In 1633, Galileo narrowly escaped with his life for claiming that the earth revolves around the sun only to be honoured posthumously for his discoveries. This is 116 years after Martin Luther’s 95 theses in 1517 that began the reformation era which gradually brought about to the divorce of church and state. Ever after then, researchers and intellectuals were never afraid to enquire even beyond the dictates of the ‘holy writ’ to make the numerous discoveries we and the islamists are enjoying today, yet the islamists are bent on taking Nigeria 5 centuries behind the time in their quest to islamise Nigeria.
What Barrister Malcolm did today is to give islamists a glimpse of what adulteration of secularism with religious symbols is capable of exciting. If they can’t stand others, they should understand what it feels to try to force others to stand them. It is not intolerance, it is business. Hijab has no business in court just as sugar has no business being in a soup. If your heart is not sufficient for you to do your religion, do it in your mosques and churches, but please don’t bring it into the professions. Don’t abuse noble professions with ridiculous dress codes that will bastardize the standard identity of that profession.