The Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN) has reiterated its call on the Federal and state governments in Nigeria to declare Muharram 1, the first day of the Islamic Hijrah Calendar 1442 A.H, as a national public holiday.
This is contained in the Hijrah 1442 A.H Message, signed by the National President of MMPN, Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Balogun.
According to him, such a declaration would be in line with the rule of law, fairness and justice to Muslims in Nigeria.
He urged the Federal Government to give recognition to Muslim New Year in the interest of fairness as benefitted by the Christian brethren on every January 1, to give Muslims a sense of belonging in the polity.
Muharram 1, is the Islamic calendar equivalent of January 1, which is observed as a public holiday in Nigeria and Muslims worldwide will usher in the new Islamic year Hijrah 1442 A.H. on Friday Aug. 21, 2020.
Balogun said, “Muharram 1, is our own January 1, we want both the Federal and state governments alike to declare it as such in the interest of religious harmony in the country.”
He implored government at various levels to recognise the Hijrah calendar and use it side by side with the Gregorian calendar.
He also congratulated Muslims and non-Muslims alike for witnessing another new Islamic year and urged them to reflect on their deeds and activities during the past year.
He asked Muslims to use the opportunity of the New Year to migrate from their evil ways in the past to renew their commitments in the New Year and pray to Allah to end the scourge of COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world.
The MMPN President also called on the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) to enter into dialogue with the Nigerian Government on the issue.
He implored Muslims to rededicate themselves to the cause of building an egalitarian society and join hands with other Nigerians in moving the nation forward.
Balogun, however, commended state governors who had declared public holiday for Islamic New Year especially in the Northern part of the country as well as Oyo and Osun states in South West, urging others to emulate their colleagues.
He described series of attacks on innocent Nigerians by some insurgency groups as unIslamic and pleaded with the affected groups to cease fire and stop violence as a demonstration of its readiness to embrace peace.