Some Islamic groups have called on federal and state governments to declare the first day of the Islamic calendar as a public holiday. In separate Hijrah messages to mark the first day of the Islamic calendar, the groups said declaring Muharram 1 as public holiday would be in line with fairness and justice to Nigerian Muslims.
The groups included Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN), Obafemi Awolowo University Muslim Graduates Association (UNIFEMGA) and Muslim Community of Oyo State (MUSCOYS).
Others were Muslim Consultative Forum (MCF), Federation of Muslim Women in Nigeria (FOMWAN) and Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN).
The groups said that declaring Muharram 1 as public holiday would also give Muslims a sense of belonging. “Muharram 1, in the Islamic calendar, is equivalent to January 1, which is observed as a public holiday in Nigeria. “Muslims worldwide will usher in the new Islamic year Hijrah 1440 A.H. on Tuesday Sept. 11.
“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”, said MMPN President, Abdurrahman Balogun UNIFEMGA, in a message signed by Abdulwaheed Odeyimka, its National President, called on the government at various levels to recognise the Hijrah calendar and use it side by side with the Gregorian calendar.
It 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.