If there is a time in history that Muslims in the world should speak out in solidarity with Nigeria youths I believe this is the right time. For decades now, Muslims all over the world have been wrongly profiled as terrorists.
The reason for this ugly act is not unknown, it is simply because many notorious terrorists in history bears Arabic name, uses a turban and most of them keep beards, which is the normal look for an average Muslim young man. Over the time there has been complaints by the Muslim community against profiling by counter terrorist units in the Western world, because most of these security units sees any man keeping beards and with Arabic name, as a suspected terrorist. This act of profiling is wrong and it has been strongly condemned, I could remember the popular Bollywood movie, My name is Khan.
For this reason, I feel Muslims should better understand the plight of the average Nigerian youth that wants to look the way he or she wants to look, because of the first hand experience of profiling by their fellow Muslim Faithfuls globally. I believe we all agree that security agencies should act based on intelligence, and not go on the street using their own “indiscretion”, to viciously attack, label, extort, maim and sometimes kill young men and women for looking in a certain way.
Just a few days ago I had a discussion with a friend who is a Muslim, after I saw him share a post of a the now-famous DJ Kaka, with a caption “Imagine this is also one of the protesters”, without saying anything further, his intentions is laid bare. However, I know assumption is a big sin, so I engaged him to be sure, from his response, I was able to confirm that my well educated and devout Muslim friend still feels Criminals has a certain way they look and dress, hence the harassment suffered by people that looks that way.
After that heartbreaking discovery, I’ve seen several posts of different people across both religion divides, arguing that certain protesters look like criminals. It is disturbing for me that some extreme religious minds are still guilty of profiling young men and women looking differently, as criminals. Evans the Kidnapper, the recently convicted Portharcourt Serial Killer, Clifford Orji the cannibal, the Ade Bendels of this world, how many of them has tattoos, has dreads and sag their pants? None of them, to the best of my knowledge!
Therefore as a matter of opportunity, I think this is a right time for my Muslim brothers and sisters to loudly condemn stereotyping and profiling. This agitation affords them an opportunity to condemn stereotyping and profiling, not because they are affected but because it is wrong. It will be hypocritical for them to argue against the stupidity of the western world who has a bias for Muslims looking in a type of way and be the one advocating and applauding our own local security agencies for profiling another set of people for looking in a type of way.
Together, we can seize this golden moment to send out a message, not just to the Nigerian government but also to the world powers that profiling is barbaric, inhumane and it violates the fundamental rights of every human. So if there is ever a time to be heard, let it be now! #Sorosoke against injustice, regardless of whose horse will be gored!