Christians of many denominations all over the globe will tomorrow mark the birth of Jesus (Peace be upon him). To this end, the Federal Government of Nigeria has declared Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th December, 2013 as holidays.
We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) seize the opportunity of this august occasion to remind Nigerians ofthe high pedestal on which Jesus is placed in Islam. The Glorious Qur’an describes Jesus as a “righteous prophet (Qur’an 6:85) and he is “held in honour in this world and the hereafter and of those nearest to Allah” (3:45).
MURIC reaffirms its resolve to respect the rights of people of other faiths to observe their festivals and the attendant holidays without let or hinderance. We call for peaceful coexistence and dissociate ourselves from any group which carries out or encourages attacks on Christians and their places of worship as this stands in contradistinction from the true teachings of Islam.
We assert clearly and unambiguously that contrary to the distorted doctrine of violent groups, Al-Jannah does not lie at the feet of killers of Christians and bombers of churches but rather it is, first and foremost, attained with the incomprehensible grace of Almighty Allah and bestowed upon righteous Muslims who extend charity, love and tolerance to their neighbours.
MURIC charges Christian leaders to join hands with the leadership of Nigerian Muslims in the struggle to expel all vestiges of aggression from the land,whether it is greedy politicians who corruptly arrogate to themselves all the milk and honey in the land or mindless criminals who make life unsafe for the citizens. We have no doubt that religious leaders can use the powerful tools of faith to save Nigerians from insecurity, ignorance, hunger and disease.
Instead of engaging in unwarranted acrimony and sensational finger-pointing, the leadership of the body of Christ in Nigeria and the Muslim Ummah can explore the deep abyss of divinity to unite Nigerians for peace and progress.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)