'Who Is This Goatee?' & Other Stories of 'Their' Intolerance

Friday 19-Mar-2021, 4:38PM / 328

For those conversant with how we used to attend lectures back at Obafemi Awolowo Univeristy, Ile Ifẹ̀, you would recall that it was not unusual for students waiting to use a lecture room to hang around on the corridor waiting for those using the auditorium to file out, if theirs was a large class, or that the waiting students quietly walk in and sit by the back of the class, if members of both classes were not much.

So the latter was the case that fateful afternoon. I was in my supposed final year at the Law Faculty. A class from another faculty was in session in one of these LTH's located around the beautiful arena of the Arts Faculty.

The class we came for was one of these Restricted Electives, so we were very few in number. Also the class in session was extremely fewer than ours so it was not difficult for my course folks - male and female - to quietly walk in via the back entrance.

One after the other, my colleagues were entering. About ten of them had comfortably sat at the back seats while the lecture at the front progressed. There was no iota of disturbance from those entering.

All this while, the lecturer handling the lecture in session could obviously see 'the Laws' - as they were fondly called on campus - filing in. He took no offence because they 'looked nice and Christian.'

All this while I was still outside observing the situation. I had that premonition that when it was my time to enter, there would be a scene.

I guessed right.

Yes the moment I stepped in, a problem stepped up.

'Yes, who is this goatee!?' That was the snap from the lecturer in front of the few students.

'You are a fool!' I fired back.

Then the fire was let loose.

The man began to climb up the height towards me in a fury. He was terribly angry.

As he was rushing up towards me, some of his students began to run after him, trying to hold him back. 

'Doctor! Doctor! Leave him alone, he could be dangerous.'

The students were shouting.

I stood where I was unperturbed damning the unfolding consequence. 

So when the doctor, as I then came to know, got to where I was, he was still fuming and panting like someone who just ran a hundred meter race with the Usain Bolts. 

Perhaps he was surprised to see me standing still. Did he think I would run away? 

We then stood face-to-face, looking into each other's eyes, the like of Mike Tyson vs. Frank Bruno. 

'So what do you want to do now?' I asked him, I don't think my question was politely asked. 

He was speechless.

I could see streaks of sweat coming down his forehead. He was about to lose all his cool. Yet he was afraid.

He tried raising his hand to hit me but was too lame to do that. 

Thank his goodness. Had he slapped me, I would not hesitate to slap him back. It would be a case of 'al-ayn bil ayn...'

And under 'their' Criminal Law, I would definitely have a defence of provocation. Indeed I was provoked. No sane Muslim would not be provoked but that gutter statement from him. 

I told him he was prejudiced to me because of my religion. How would he refer to me as a goatee? 

Of course, my little beard was conspicuously Muslim-like and that 'jumping trousers', since 1996, gave me out as one of those whom the like of that doctor would refer to as 'those people', a derogatory phrase for Muslims imbibing the Sunnah whether as male or female. 

Yes the word 'goatee' is that type of men's beard that usually draws down the jaw and makes it look like a goat beard.

The English people, in their morphological stupidity, refer to that kind of beard as 'goatee.'

But 'our' doctor left out the part and made it a metaphor. He said I was a 'goatee!' In other words, he said I was like a goat because of my Islamic beard.

So I said he was a fool! Wasn't he, yes he was. If you say 'no, he wasn't,' perhaps you will need to take your UME again (or what is it called now?) 

That is just an instance of what we faced as university students in Southern part of Nigeria.

Right from the primary school. I once wrote it on the main site that The Christians Had Almost 'Killed' Us. 

Sincerely, I have a lot to tell but I am still saving it for the future, Inshaa Allaah.

Right from my Part One, as an 'accidental' Law student, I had been subjected to religious harassment and prejudice by our supposed lawyers of human rights.

A lecturer would always call me a monk in class throughout our Law of Contract in Part Two.

One of them categorically told me in the maiden Energy Law class, in Part Four, that if I would not be removing my black skull cap (which I had got to 'match' the traditional white-on-black Law student uniform) before coming to class, I should just leave the class and de-register the course.

Having said that, I just stood up in that Law 209 Lecture Room, walked out of the class and went and de-registered the course, after all it was a Restricted Elective, I had options, I had thought. 

I can still recall the silence that pervaded as I walked out. Sincerely it did not hurt me. Wasn't I an 'accidental' Law student?

The option I chose was Law and Medicine. 

That was where I was 'sentenced' to a cumpulsory extra year 'with hard labour.'

It was a well orchestrated plan. A former Muslim, who was aspiring to be a doctor of Law, did the dirty job. 

It is not yet time for me to narrate all that. 

The day I would narrate it, I will like some of the players to be in my audience, or those who will certainly take the narration to them. 

So it has been a circus of religious prejudice ever since. The Christians hate the Muslims, no be small.

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This Blog Post Comments
Name: Kifaya Bint Sulaiman
Friday 19-Mar-2021, 5:36PM
Comment: May Allah make Muslims overpower the kuffar. Ameen.
Name: Ibrahim Akintola
Friday 19-Mar-2021, 6:31PM
Comment: BaarokaLLOOHU feekum sir. I think the ground that you and the other dauntless brothers stood paved ways, a little, for the latter generations, it however does not completely eradicate the hatred as we were made to realise that there are some uninformed/misinformed Muslims that are calling the tune. May ALLAAH make all of us better Muslims and make the sunnah of the prophet, solaLLOOHU alaeih wa-sallam, prevail.
Name: Aboo Yaasir Ash-Shahdee
Saturday 20-Mar-2021, 4:28AM
Comment: Many years later, in my part one at Olabisi Onabanjo University, I had a related situation. I was walking down the corridor to the psychology laboratory where I would probably find any information relating to the department and class activities. Along this corridor are offices meant for the departmental lecturers (a combo of Sociology and Psychology lecturers) at Odua Building. Suddenly a lecturer who left his office door opened to entertain familiar faces most especially the ladies as it is obvious from those visitors occupying his office, he began to yell as I pass by his office "Hey! Boko Haram, come here. Hey! Boko Haram! Boko Haram!" I looked at him in wonderment of his stupidity and level of ignorance as a university lecturer. Obviously he got angry, thus, he felt powerless in the presence of his visitors for the confidence and maturity displayed by me. I passed by confidently, paying no attention to any of his hostile manners. Few days later, it dawned on him that I am not just any kind of fresher he could intimidate. That day, I was writing my first departmental exam; and he as a departmental lecturer, he was invigilating us. I sat at the front sit, determined to graduate with one of the best results so I focused more on my exam. Unfortunately for him, he remembered my face then he began to make some noise: "You, I have caught you today. Were you not the one I was calling the other day and you refused to answer me?" I played deaf with him while concentrating on my exam. It took him by surprise so he louded the whole ranting. Out of provocation, I hammered at him "Sir, you are disturbing me (and this is an examination hall)." Other lecturers interjected saying "he is a lecturer of the department" and I replied then saying "does that suffices for him to call me a Boko Haram?" A moment of decorum transpired but out of frustration, he voiced out saying: "do you think you are a scholar?..." I told him "if I am a scholar, you won't find me here (but at least you know you are stupid and it doesn't take me to be a scholar for you to realise that). They stylishly went for settlement and the exam, most of my colleagues from that day onward accord me with a degree of regard such that when I make an objection to a decision pertaining to academics, they act extra careful with it. Islam gave me that confidence, wisdom, knowledge and understanding. I have other encounters, a prof. from O.A.U, Vice Chancellor, lecturers and so on. Alhamdulillaah.