THREAT OF RELIGIOUS WAR: CAN thirsty of war with Muslims, MURIC declares

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CAN President Samson Ayokunle.

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*Calls on US, UK, others to call Nigerian Christian leaders to order

*We don’t plot evil against our neighbours – Muslim Rights Group

 

“Instead of threatening war, the responsible thing to do as religious leaders is to dialogue with the government of the day in order to know its challenges. CAN is behaving as if the arsenal of weapons brought in via several clandestine flights in Jonathan’s days are yearning for use. All we heard was that one flight to South Africa scandalized Jonathan and Ayo Oritsejafor, the former president of CAN. We have evey reason to believe that several other flights had been successful before then and even after the exposure. Only those who have been preparing for war against their neighbours for years will be so bellicose and so daring,” it said.

 

For its incessant escalation of collective challenges in the country by putting Muslims at perpetual risk, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called out that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) should be watched over its recent threat of religious war should Leah Sharibu die in the hands of Boko Haram.

MURIC made this call in a statement by his Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, which he issued in Lagos on Friday, copy of which was sent to The DEFENDER.

CAN, a week ago, had threatened that there would be religious war in Nigeria if Leah Sharibu dies in Boko Haram’s captivity.

MURIC said some of the demonstrations being staged around the country by the Church body are linked to its intention to make good its threat of war; but wondered against whom the CAN was going to fight such religious war if not against the Muslims.

This is about the first time incessant religious war songs by CAN have been considered important an issue to be addressed holistically and by government too.

The Ummah therefore is saying to CAN “enough is enough!” and it is expected, according to some watchers of the scenario, that those in charge of national security should have handled the pressure-mounting Christian group before it, “through the intolerance and deliberately lacking of understanding by its leadership”, plunge the country into yet another security challenge that will not only take unbudgeted money to prosecute but also will largely cost Nigeria losses of innocent souls and global trust in its already reviving peace and economy.

This latest effort by the religious group to continue to think that it has monopoly of provocation may have however finally pitched the Muslim Ummah to say “all of these unguarded utterances must stop”.

The Muslim Rights Concern said it is unbecoming of the men in the house of God to issue threats which are likely to lead to massive bloodshed.

Describing the latest conundrum being deliberately created by CAN over Leah Sharibu as odd threat, irrational, infantile and ungodly, MURIC was dismayed there has never been anytime all Nigerians were supposed to look at a national disaster as collective challenge that must be tackled collectively, the Christian leaders under the pressure group mounted by CAN would always impatiently, intolerantly refuse to show such understanding but would rather take to accusing Muslims as responsible for criminality being perpetrated by some Christians hiding under the claim of religion.

Unfortunately for CAN, the current situation on its hands, largely said, may have been caused by its lack of impatience, which made its members to go to press celebrating “Leah Sharibu is Christian Hero!” and how they opening blew it on the front page of newspaper how some of their leaders declared “Scholarship for the girl who dared Boko Haram by not denouncing her Christianity for Islam!”.

All of these, these CAN leaders were doing at a time the little girl and 111 others abducted in Dapchi were about to be released as a result of successful negotiation between the abductors and the Federal Government.

Now that the Christian leaders should take responsibility for the consequences of their own undoing, watchers of event said, they are threatening religious war with Muslims who have nothing to do with the abduction except that they suffered the pains of the abduction as their own entirely the 111 other schoolgirls who were also victims like their single Christian girl.

It was on the ills of this reality that Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, cautioned the Christian Association on Monday against this incessant fanning of embers of war in the country as he said the Nigerian Christian leaders should stop making unguarded utterances that could make terrorists win their war against the Nigerian State.

The monarch, who was reacting on behalf of Nigerian Muslims, spoke against the backdrop of reports credited to the nation’s Christian body that: “If Leah Sharibu dies in the hands of Boko Haram, there is going to be a religious war in the country.”

He was profound in his warning ringing it clearly to the hearing of the Christian leaders that they should hold themselves responsible should the captors of the “innocent girl” hear what they are saying and they go ahead and kill her being that it is what the CAN is calling for (confusion) that the insurgents actually want to achieve.

MURIC, in its own statement on Friday, threw its own voice into the serious issue considered within the Nigerian Muslim Community is capable of inciting a civil disturbances as complicated as religious war by telling the CAN pointblank that it wants to give cheap victory to Boko Haram against government of the country.

The statement read: “We do not need an expert in international diplomacy to interpret the scenario on ground. Boko Haram is using every available means to cause a war between Nigerian Christians and their Muslim neighbours. That was clear in the initial attacks on churches. CAN leaders swallowed the bait at that time and they started accusing Muslims of sponsoring Boko Haram. Muslim leaders were patient.

“CAN did not stop accusing Muslim leaders of connivance until they saw that Boko Haram was actually killing more Muslims than Christians.  This Leah Sharibu incident is Boko Haram’s last card along the same mission and we expect CAN leaders to know better.  But CAN cannot.  CAN has its own political agenda. Or does it really make sense? The hoodlums abducted girls and released all except the only Christian in their midst. It is part of the terrorists’ propaganda. They are anarchists seeking to throw the nation into higeldy-pigeldy.  Can’t CAN get it?”

MURIC continued, “We strongly suspect that CAN is deliberately creating a conundrum. Leah Sharibu was abducted. Who abducted her? Boko Haram. Muslim leaders have rejected Boko Haram. Muslims are also victims of Boko Haram. CAN now wants war. Against who? Against Muslims. Is it logical? Does it make sense at all? CAN is playing into the hands of Boko Haram. It would have made a little sense if CAN had said, “Boko Haram refused to release Lear Sharibu. Therefore we are going after Boko Haram insurgents. Sambisa Forest here we come,” it said.

The statement continued, “The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’d Abubakar, said ab initio that Boko Haram and all terrorists are evil. He called on all Nigerians to join hands with him to fight this evil. But now instead of fighting the transparent evil, CAN wants to fight the Muslims. We assure CAN that millions of Muslims will join if it makes a more responsible statement like asking Muslims to join Christians in invading Boko Haram hideouts in Sambisa. MURIC is ready for that.

“We are constrained to ask what kind of neighbours are CAN leaders? Why are they always threatening fire and brimstone? Is this bully complex compatible with the pastoral profession? Is it acceptable as a quality among religionists? We call the attention of the whole world to the belligerent attitude of Nigeria’s Christian leaders. The rest of the world should take note now so that it will be clear who is stoking the fire of war.

“CAN appears to be having a conflict of identity with its mission and vision running riots. Religious leaders are not expected to behave like young students seeking attention. We can understand when student leaders call for aluta but elderly men in cassock singing songs of war calls for serious introspection in order to avoid, among other things, the concomitant loss of respect even among followers.

“Come to think of it, where was CAN when General Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd) as head of state ordered the killing of Odi people in Benue State? Where was CAN during the tenure of ex-president Jonathan when Boko Haram killed hundreds of Muslims and displaced thousands in the North East? Was CAN on sabbatical when hundreds were killed in the recurring Plateau communal killings before 2015? Were those thousands of lives lost during those periods not worth protesting for?

“So CAN can make noise now because a Muslim is in power? But CAN could look the other way when Christians were in power, particularly when the billions were flowing in the immediate past regime and Jerusalem trips were shorter than walks from home to church? We can understand this particularly now that the pecuniary tap in Aso Rock is dry.

“Instead of threatening war, the responsible thing to do as religious leaders is to dialogue with the government of the day in order to know its challenges. CAN is behaving as if the arsenal of weapons brought in via several clandestine flights in Jonathan’s days are yearning for use. All we heard was that one flight to South Africa scandalized Jonathan and Ayo Oritsejafor, the former president of CAN. We have evey reason to believe that several other flights had been successful before then and even after the exposure. Only those who have been preparing for war against their neighbours for years will be so bellicose and so daring,” it said.

However, the statement clears the Islamic rights group of tendency to issue threats like CAN does but that nobody under the sun can the Muslims tremble.

“MURIC does not issue threats but nobody under the sun can make us tremble. It is not in our character. We face our destiny as Allah has designed it. Neither do we plot evil against our neighbours. We are ever willing to coexist peacefully with our Christian neighbours. Different faiths should not be the cause for hostilities. We have so many things in common. Humanity is numero uno among those things we have in common. Afterall we are all from Adam and Adam was from ordinary dust.

“We call on world leaders, the US, Britain, etc, to note the excesses of Nigerian Christian leaders. In particular, we invite Christian leaders in the West African subregion to counsel their brothers-in-Christ. We call for prayers for the innocent girl, Leah Sharibu. Let us pray that Allah will veer the terrorists’ minds towards setting her free within a very short time. Let us pray for her safety. Let us also pray for the safe return of the remaining Chibok girls.

“Before we round up, we plead with Christians from all walks of life to make CAN leadership see reason. What do they want to gain from war? The leaders of CAN should also be told to put their own children in the forefront when the war they threaten breaks out. CAN should stop all these attention-seeking gimmicks. We charge CAN to wage its war against Boko Haram ‘the evil’ and not against innocent, law-abiding and peace-loving Muslims. Aso Rock’s current landlord has no billions to doll out. Unlike his predecessor, he does not spray public money,” the group said.


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