The Chief Missioner of Nasrullahi-l Fatih (NASFAT), Imam Abdul-Azeez Onike, has called on the three tiers of government to involve religious and faith leaders in the advocacy against the scourge of sexual harassment in Nigeria.
Concise News reports that Onike made the call at an event organised by the Office of the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos with the titled: “#Mee too, What next”.
He said that this model was used in Liberia and India to fight the scourge of sexual harassment in their countries.
“Although, recent events have shown that religious leaders could also be part of the problem, Islam as a religion, lays down rule on mingling between opposite sex.
“Hence, religious and faith leaders have a significant role to play and must also ensure they are above board.
“Religious leaders are vital for this campaign against gender based violence; they are voices for peace and reason they will help in shaping social norms and behaviours.
“Exerting moral influence over home life is one of the factors in shifting wider cultural practices among others,” he said in a statement.
The chief missioner said that there was need for Nigerians to be educated on the red signals to look out for that could lead to rape.
According to him, parts of what have been found out by researchers to be pre-rape warning are unwanted attention, touching, persistence and verbal threats.
“Coined by Patricia Rozee and Mary Koss in a 2001 Study, “Pre-rape” refers to categories of behaviour that have been scientifically linked to male perpetrators.
“The Prophet said ‘No man is alone with a woman (one who is not his wife or close relative), but the Shaytaan will be the third one present,” Onike said.
He commended the courage of a victim, one of the panelists, who was bold to speak out ignoring the cultural inhibitions.
The cleric, who reiterated the position of Islam on sexual harassment, said that one of the lslamic legal maxim is “harm must be eliminated” coined from the saying of the holy Prophet Muhammad.
Onike said: “Do not inflict harm and do not allow harm to be inflicted upon you.
“This is in addition to the fact that protection of honour and dignity are key objectives of Islam/Shariah.
“Islam is not a patriachical religion, but religion of equity, giving each one what he or she is entitled to, and that the noblests are the most pious regardless of gender, according to Quran 49 verse 13.”
Onike said that NASFAT had been collaborating with international organisations such as UNICEF in ending violence, especially against children and women.
He said that the organisation was ready to join hands with any other agency, group or organisation to tame the malaise of gender base violence and sexual harassment.