Shari’a Dress Codes Imposed on Christian Schoolgirls and Nurses
Kano State Government Also Closing Christian Schools

In Kano State, all girls – including Christians – attending state run
schools are to be compelled to wear the Islamic headscarf. Meanwhile in
Azare, Bauchi State, 12 nurses have been sacked for non-compliance with a
dress code based on Islamic law (shari’a).

On Friday 29 August the government of Kano State issued a directive that
all girls attending schools run by the State Government should wear the
Islamic headscarf, or hijab as it is known. This directive applies to all
girls whether they are Muslim or not.

The directive does not apply to schools run by Nigeria’s Federal Government
or to private schools. However since most private Christian schools in Kano
have recently been forced to close, Christians are left with little choice.
The schools were closed on the grounds that they do not meet required state
standards; these standards include employing imams to instruct in Islam.

Unlike the previous governor of Kano State, present governor Ibrahim
Shekarau has made clear his intention to apply shari’a more vigorously.
Whilst making a stopover at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, the
president of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir, pledged any necessary support for the
governor to fulfil this aim, so that all the other northern Nigerian states
would follow Kano’s example.

Neighbouring Bauchi State has recently seen the sacking of 12 Christian
nurses who refused to wear new uniforms designed to comply with a shari’a
based dress code. The Christian Fellowship pleaded with the Nursing Service
Dept of the Federal Medical Centre in Azare to let them carry on wearing
the traditional nurse’s uniform, but they were told it revealed too much of
their legs.

Nigeria has a population of over 120 million, which is evenly divided
between Christians, who live mainly in the South and Muslims who
predominate in the northern states. Twelve of these northern states (out of
Nigeria’s 36) have adopted full shari’a law since 1999. However in the wake
of the furore surrounding the highly publicised case of Amina Lawal many
Muslims are also beginning to wonder if shari’a really brings justice.
Amina Lawal had been condemned to death by stoning for adultery, but has
now been acquitted.

* Pray that Nigerian Christians will react with Christ-like love and
wisdom, even when they are subject to such blatant discrimination.

* Pray against the continued encroaching of shari’a into northern Nigerian
Christians’ everyday lives and that they will not be forced to live as if
they were Muslims.

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