From Victor Seyi, Ilorin
The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) under the leadership of its President-General, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, on Thursday urged Muslims in the country to resist the temptation of retaliating Wednesday’s attacks on Muslims and the Central Mosque of Onitsha, Anambra State.
The position of the religious body on the Onitsha mayhem was made known at a press conference addressed by its Secretary- General, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede in Ilorin, Kwara State on Thursday.
The NSCIA’s scribe urged Muslims to consider the perpetrators as criminals and not representative of any ethnic or religious group.
His words: “The NSCIA is fully aware of the development and is working round the clock to put the situation under control. Muslims are warned against the antics of those who seek to whip up religious sentiments to further their clandestine political motives. Vengeance is for Allah and Muslims should exercise maximum restraint in these trying times.
“We call on Muslim brothers and sisters not to embark on reprisals attacks on Christians and their places of worship in any part of Nigeria. We are already engaged in discussions with various security and relevant government agencies to forestall further aggravation of the situation.
“We also call on all religious and interfaith organizations across the country to step up their peace-building initiatives in order to support the government and strengthen the enabling climate peace and good relationships.
“In addition, we want to request all Imams and Muslim scholars to cooperate with the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in dowsing the tension created by the unfortunate incidence.
He said the religious body,noted with distress the unfortunate and unprovoked attacks on Muslims and the Central Mosque of Onitsha, Anambra State, .
The NSCIA added that the perpetrators of the dastardly acts, which culminated in the loss of lives and burning of trucks owned by a prominent Muslim businessman only sought to provoke inter-religious crises and thereby get the country further embroiled in needless bloodletting.
The apex Islamic group in the country, however, appealed to the Federal Government and the relevant security agencies to take urgent and appropriate steps to safeguard the lives of Muslims and any other vulnerable community living in any part of the country.
The Sultan added: “In line with our religious injunctions, preserving a single life is similar to preserving the lives of the whole of humanity. We should not allow the current unfortunate development to affect negatively interfaith relationship between Muslims and Christians in this country which is needed for the achievement of peace and development of our nation.
“In the same vein, we want to appeal to various groups and organisations to always resort to the use of the appropriate channels provided by the constitution, the law and our democratic structure for resolving any grievances.
“We also call on the government to investigate the incidences surrounding the killings and wanton destruction of the mosque in Onitsha and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We pray for God’s continued guidance and support of our leaders and the citizens of Nigeria in the effort towards building a nation where peace and justice shall reign.
“Importantly, Muslims are enjoined to heed the call of Allah by upholding the virtues that guard against the demolition of “monasteries, synagogues and mosques in which Allah is much mentioned” (Q 22:40). They should remember that the position of Islam is that the unsavoury development requires reflection. The consequences of swallowing the bait of drawing Muslims into the hideous agenda would only be disastrous. Therefore, the key words are patience, steadfastness, discipline, restrain and prayers.
“Allah says in the Glorious Quran, “The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel the evil with one which is better. Then, verily, he between whom and you there was enmity (will become) as though he was a close friend.” (Q41: 34). Allah thus commands the believers to be patient when they feel angry, be forbearing when confronted with ignorance and to forgive when they are ill-treated. It is by doing these that Allah will stand by them.
“The NSCIA calls on all Chief Imams to utilise the Minbar tomorrow (today, Friday) to preach, peace, justice and restraints. Two wrongs do not make a right. Innocent persons should not be made to suffer as a result of the act of few misguided individuals.
“The NSCIA is confident of the capacity of the state to put the situation under control. As Prophet Muhammad (SAW), said, “There is no better punishment for one who has disobeyed Allah with regard to you than your obeying Allah with regard to him.”
From Victor Seyi, Ilorin