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LOUD WHISPERS: As We Begin The Ramadan Season

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Friday, June 2nd, 2017

Three years ago, I was at a Yoruba traditional engagement ceremony in Lagos. What used to be a beautiful ceremony full of symbolism, traditional music and poetry performances, overseen by those who have the required experience as women of the household, has now been turned over to commercial hands. With varying degrees of knowledge and (mis)understanding of Yoruba protocol and values, these engagement facilitators popularly known as ‘Gagers’ are the ones who lead both families through the process of introducing one another and getting down to the business of the day

The ‘Gager’ asked the head of the bride’s family to pray for the couple. The bride’s father was a Muslim by birth but converted to Christianity. His Uncle, the head of the family, is a Muslim, so he proceeded to pray for his niece and her husband. As the old man was praying, the ‘Gager’ was muttering something into the microphone she was holding. I couldn’t make out what she was saying, till she moved close to where I was. That is when I realized she was ‘speaking in tongues’. I asked the lady next to me why she was doing that, and she said, ‘Because she wants to counter whatever demonic influences might come with the Muslim prayers being said in Arabic verse’. I was shocked. I felt like grabbing the microphone from the Gager’s hand and giving her an earful. Praying the Islamic way is now no longer acceptable in South West Nigeria, a part of the country respected for its religious tolerance? Sadly, the landscape has changed, both globally and locally. When I was young, we would run off to the homes of our Muslim friends to eat fried meat during the Sallah celebrations. At Christmas, they all came over to celebrate with us. Part of the fall out of the contemporary global conflicts is now a local culture of intolerance and insecurity, fueled by politicians and religious leaders alike.

Full story in “Loud Whispers”


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Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of, an online community for women. She can be reached at





11 Responses

  1. Amen ijn…. Ramadan kareem to all my Muslim brothers and sisters. May all our prayers, supplications, and intercession be answered ijn.

    Our believe system is very strong and that’s why their is a big conflict in out religious system.

  2. This is a great piece about religious tolerance. some people take these religious things more serious even more than Jesus himself. Ramadan Kareem to all Muslims in the world and may all our prayers be answered, regardless of whatever means we choose to say them

  3. This post seem really similar to the one posted around this time last year. Well done ma and may you continue to be blessed and enriched with these wonderful thoughts and ideas. If only most of us can imbibe these ideals and take active steps towards a peaceful world, rid of all fanaticism and religious extremism. Happy Ramadan to all Muslims

  4. I was about to make a comment that i had read a similar piece written by you until i saw the statement of its original​ date it was published. Thank you for the reminder ma’am but sincerely this religious belief and ethnic difference is getting worse by the day. I pray with don’t lose the essence of humanity which is love.
    May God continually bless you ma’am.

  5. Religious Acceptability is what is needed the most in this country. Accept people and their religion no matter what, through that, we can live peaceably among ourselves

  6. Yes! Nigeria should unite. No one is superior, we all together and whichever way we chose to speak to God is different. Accepting our religious differences is basic in this country.

  7. Thank you for acknowledging us and thanks to all the wishes. May Allah honour all of you.

  8. Thanks for the love ma I really appreciate the fact that you are not a fanatic. Happy Ramadan Kareem to all my Muslim brothers and sisters.

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