An Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has rejected the examination timetable recently released by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) for the conduct of the 2020 West African Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) scheduled to begin on Tuesday, 11th August, 2020. The organisation based its rejection on the clash between WAEC’s timetable and the period of Friday Jumu’ah prayers.
This was made known to newsmen in a press statement issued on Monday, 3rd August, 2020 by Professor Ishaq Akintola, Director and Founder of the organization.
The group said, “WAEC has again fixed some of its subjects for the period of the Muslim Friday Jumu‘ah prayer in its examination which begins next week Tuesday 11th August, 2020. These are papers that Muslim candidates are also expected to take. The implications are very serious.
“WAEC is deliberately creating a wedge between young Muslims and the mosque. WAEC is making it impossible for Muslim youth to worship. The examination body is encroaching upon Allah-given fundamental rights of Muslim candidates to access freedom of religion as guaranteed by Section 38 (i) & (ii) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. At best, the examination body is reducing the chances of good performance among Muslim candidates.
“A quick glance at the timetable recently released by WAEC shows that there are at least three clashes between examination periods and Muslim prayers on Fridays: Management-in-Living (2 pm, Friday 14th August, 2020); Literature-in-English (2 pm, Friday 21st August); Health Science (1.30 pm, Friday, 4th September).
“This timetable is exclusive, sectional, parochial, insensitive and provocative. It is an invitation to anarchy. It is designed to cause pain to Muslim candidates. It is therefore the handiwork of sadists and anarchists. It smirks of an anti-Muslim machinery oiled by the passion for hate and injustice.
“This is in spite of efforts made by us to guard against this kind of clash. It will be recalled that MURIC issued a proactive press statement on Tuesday 23rd June, 2020 under the caption ‘Consider the Friday Question in Your Timetable: MURIC Tells WAEC’. This press release was expected to remind WAEC of the need to avoid the present controversy. But WAEC ignored it.
“The examination body cannot claim ignorance of this reminder because it was well published by the media.
“We are perturbed by WAEC’s recalcitrance. The fact that the examination body ignored the above advice shows that it deliberately targets Muslims for persecution. It inflicts unbearable psychological trauma on young Muslim candidates. It is unacceptable. This has to stop.
“There is also enough evidence that this is not the first time WAEC will fix examinations during the Muslim prayer period on Friday. MURIC’s struggle with WAEC over the Friday question is of great antiquity. Unfortunately WAEC does not appear ready to learn from history.
“Muslims everywhere in the world do not joke with the Friday Jumu‘ah prayer. This special weekly prayer has divine and scriptural basis in Qur’an 62:9-11 and any attempt to circumspect it by any means constitutes a challenge to divine authority. Justice also demands that the Muslim prayer period be respected by all, especially by WAEC because the Christian Sunday remains sacrosanct. Perhaps WAEC examinations should be held on Sunday morning if it will not respect the Muslim prayer period.” The Press statement read