The President of Kwara Baptist Conference, Reverend Victor Dada, has alleged that Muslim fundamentalists promised to burn down First Baptist Church Surulere, Ilorin, Kwara State where Christians gathered for a peaceful demonstration on Wednesday.
SaharaReporters had reported how a clash broke out between Christians and Muslims over a controversy bordering on the use of hijab by Muslim students in schools in the state.
In a statement, Dada alleged that the Muslim fundamentalists overpowered the police, forcibly removed the gate, signboard of the school and threw stones at Christians there for over one hour.
According to him, at least 20 people, including four pastors, were wounded and three were hospitalised.
The statement partly read, “Despite that the case is at the Supreme Court and a stay of execution was obtained by proprietors of the mission school, the government announced the use of hijab and reopening of the schools today.
“Christians who were today at First Baptist Church Surulere, Ilorin on peaceful demonstration with drums and trumpets, came under serious attack by Muslim fundamentalists who mobilised themselves and louts in large numbers to attack us.
“They overpowered the police, forcefully removed the gate and signboard of the school and started stoning us for over one hour.
Only the gallant resistance of members and eventual security reinforcements saved the church from being burnt.
“More than 20 people (including four Pastors) were wounded with three hospitalised.
“The fundamentalist in the presence of security officials vehemently attempted to burn the church and when repelled, threatened to burn the church either during the day or at night.
“They doused the church gate with petrol and vandalised the auditorium. They also went ahead to vandalise The Apostolic Church, Eruda, Ilorin, a church without any grant-aided school.”
The cleric stated that the church maintains its stance on the controversial issue, stressing that wearing of hijab will not be permitted in mission schools.
He also alleged that, in the last 15 years, the government had not employed teachers for Christian Religious Knowledge teachers but employed Islamic religious teachers in schools, including the mission schools.
“It is surprising that the government has become a government of the Muslim, by the Muslim and for the Muslim in his (state governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq) policies, pronouncements and attitude.
“We wish to restate our stand that our schools are grant-aided and not public schools. At no time since the grant aiding policy started in 1974 has any government designed uniform for schools.
“This has always been the responsibility of the proprietors, be it community or mission. It should be noted that Christians have always complied with Islamic guidelines in grant-aided Muslim school as Muslims do not allow any Christian practice in their schools.
“The Muslims and the government should not take our gentleness for weakness. The government has not employed Christian Religious Knowledge teachers in the last 15 years but kept employing and posting Imam and Islamic religious teachers in large numbers (even in mission schools).
“We shall not allow the use of hijab in our schools. We will defend our faith and defend our inheritance. We demand that the government should return our schools.”