[Kano]–The founder of Islamic Online University (IOU), Dr. Bilal Philips has said that not less than 12,000 Nigerians are currently enrolled and studying various courses in the institution.
Phillips disclosed this on Monday in Kano when he paid a visit to the former Governor of Kano state, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau.
According to Phillips, the university which was founded in April 2007 had over 300,000 students at present and that not less than 12,000 are Nigerians out of which 294 students were studying at no cost.
“The aim of the university is to grant global access to quality undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate level in Islamic education for students at virtually no cost.
“Its mission is to be a catalyst for change in the global Muslim nations, to facilitate their contributions to the progress of human civilisation.”
He also revealed that the online University which started with Shari’ah courses is now running courses in education, banking & finance and psychology among others while its management is planning to introduce new courses including Agriculture.
“We are also presently planning to establish the online Islamic University in Nigeria. We are going through all the necessary processes.”
Philips canvassed for the inclusion of the Islamic perspective in the educational process in Nigeria, to enable students understand the Islamic aspects of any course they study.
Responding, Shekarau, a former Minister of Education, commended the scholar for promoting Islam across the world, describing such effort as a welcome development.
According to him, bringing Islamic perspective to courses would sanitise government ministries, agencies and other organisations, especially in ending corruption.
“During my eight years tenure as governor, I was the first to make it mandatory for the civil servants to apply the Islamic perspective, in carrying out their functions,” Shekarau said.
It should be noted that the online University was initially established in 2001 and later shut down due to technical difficulties before reopening in 2007.
The IOU propagates a clear-cut Salafi ideology.
In 2014, the Niger Times reported that the Niger State Government paid the Islamic Online University’s Bachelor of Arts school fees for 35 students that registered from the state.
The Jamaican born scholar considers himself a Salafi who advocates a traditional, literal form of Islam and he has been the centre of many controversies involving regious extremism.
Philip’s works entitled “The Fundamentals of Tauheed” has been described as “extremist” by the United Kingdom prison service and the book has been banned and removed from all prisons in the country.
In the April 2016 issue of Dabiq Magazine, The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, declared Philips to be a murtadd (or apostate) and threatened to kill him for denouncing ISIS.Please Follow Us @ThePageNg