The new leader of Boko Haram insurgents, Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi, has called for the killing of Christians and the blowing up of churches.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) expresses total bewilderment at the depth of barbarism in the recent hate speech emanating from the leadership of Boko Haram. It is totally despicable and exceptionally criminal to target fellow products of the Adamic chromosome for annihilation. We have no doubt that this call could only have come from a twisted mind.
Islam is love, not hatred. Islam gives life, not death. It builds and does not destroy. The Glorious Qur’an only allows Muslims to fight in self-defence (Qur’an 2:190). It forbids unjust and unlawful killing (Qur’an 6:151). It compares anyone who kills his fellow man to one who kills all homo sapiens (Qur’an 5:32).
We remind the Boko Haram coercion ideologues of the moderate posture of the Glorious Qur’an towards non-Muslims. Qur’an 2:256 says there should be no compulsion in religion (Laa ikraahun fil diin).
Qur’an 10:99 completely sweeps the carpet off the feet of agents of belligerence as it declares, “So you forcefully compel people to believe in Allah? But they would all have believed if Allah had wanted it so!”
Our differences in matters of faith are therefore part of the deliberate and grand design of the Divine Creator. Allah also affirms in Qur’an 11:118 that there would still have been differences even if the whole world follows a single religion. So what is special about belonging to a particular religion if we do not share love?
This is why Allah reminded Prophet Muhammad to limit his mission to reminding people and never to make any attempt at controlling people’s lives (Qur’an 88:21 – 22).
MURIC charges Muslims all over the world to limit their religious zeal to the true dictates of Islam as reflected in the verses of the Glorious Qur’an lest they transgress. They should leave those who reject Islam alone. Our hypothesis is that Allah did not give anyone the assignment to punish those who reject Islam.
This is reflected in Allah’s own words in Qur’an 88:23 – 26, “They (i.e. the non-Muslims) are coming back to Us and We will call them to account”. We therefore assert firmly, authoritatively and unequivocally that nobody can perform Allah’s role for Him.
As we round up, we reaffirm our readiness to peacefully coexist with our Christian neighbours. We reject hate speeches and their authors whether from Boko Haram or the Islamic State (ISIS). The directive to attack Western interests is antithetical to the non-racial and pax vobiscum leaning of Islam.
We call on the Nigerian public and the rest of the world to separate criminals from their religion and desist from stereotyping Muslims as terrorists or their sympathizers. In this regard, we welcome the recent pronouncement of Pope Francis in which he urged the world to stop equating Islam with terrorism.
Although we are aware that Boko Haram is technically defeated, militarily debilitated and spiritually demobilized, it is not over until it is over. Nigeria’s security agencies still need to beef up security around Christian clerics and heighten vigilance in churches around the country.
Finally, we urge Muslims in the country to demonstrate solidarity with their Christian neighbours by ensuring that Boko Haram elements are not allowed to launch attacks on Christians in their neighbourhood. We have a duty to defend our Christian neighbours at this critical stage. This is the way to keep Nigeria united.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)