Xenophobic Othering in a Pluralistic State: On Hijab Crises in Nigeria

Volume 8, Issue 1, February 2024     |     PP. 8-22      |     PDF (213 K)    |     Pub. Date: January 16, 2024
DOI: 10.54647/sociology841237    14 Downloads     1096 Views  


Habibat Oladosu-Uthman, Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Despite the fact that Nigeria is a plural state with multi-ethnic and multi-religious entities by diverse cultures and languages, it is worrisome to witness incidences of side-lining and denial of human rights to some segments of the society. In other words, human right issues are treated with levity within the Nigerian society. The issue of hijab-wearing by female Nigerian Muslims is not an exception in this case. From Firdaws Amasa at Nigerian Law School in Abuja to Lagos, Oyo, Osun and Kwara states where incidences of hijab crises have taken place over the years, the use of hijab in public secondary schools and work places is still experiencing xenophobic tendencies from non-Muslims within the Nigerian public space. This paper, therefore, examines the constitutional provisions on the rights of individual to exert his/her humanity in a plural society such as Nigeria and situate same to the recurrent attacks on female Muslim students in public secondary schools on the use of hijab. The paper makes use of the works of scholars like Amina Wadud, Asma’ Barlas, among others, as its theoretical foundation as well as unstructured interviews to elicit data from both the wearers and the admirers or otherwise of hijab. It asks: what is hijab to a Muslim lady/woman? Exactly what is the constitutional relevance of hijab within the Nigerian public space? What are the factors responsible for xenophobic tendencies from the non-Muslims? The paper concludes that, until our common humanity is given a prominent and important attention it deserves, the issue of marginalization/lack of justice towards one segment by ‘Others’ will continue to impinge on harmonious relationship in the Nigeria public sphere.

Xenophobia, Muslims, Hijab, Constitution, Human rights

Cite this paper
Habibat Oladosu-Uthman, Xenophobic Othering in a Pluralistic State: On Hijab Crises in Nigeria , SCIREA Journal of Sociology. Volume 8, Issue 1, February 2024 | PP. 8-22. 10.54647/sociology841237


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