December 30, 2009

Muslim clerics deny Al-Qaeda links in Nigeria

By Inalegwu Shaibu

ABUJA—Muslim Clerics across Nigeria yesterday condemned the attempted bombing of a US airliner by Farouk Mutallab, a 23-year old Nigerian, just as they denied the existence of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda in the country.

Some of the clerics who spoke with Vanguard in Abuja, described the incident as unfortunate, adding that Nigeria is not a terrorist country.

Those that spoke include Dr Taofik Abdulazeez, Imam, University of Abuja, Malam Abdulfattah Adeyemi and the Director of Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, Dr Ishaq Akintola.

Condemning the act, Dr. Abdulazeez said, “On the reported case of attempted bombing, we plead with Nigerians to take this news with extreme caution and to also caution Nigerians and the authorities not to rush into actions and not to make costly conclusions out of it.

“There may be a connection between extreme economic prosperity of some people and extreme poverty of some and certain tendencies such as violence which may not be located among the poor.’’

In his own contribution, Dr. Akintola decribed the event as “highly criminal, inhuman, horrifying and preposterous. It is very callous and thoughtless to attempt to destroy a plane carrying more than 300 innocent people.

“We call on Muslim parents and guardians to properly counsel their children and wards against joining radical groups,’’ MURIC said in the statement.

Also speaking on the issue, Mr Kamor Disu, Director, Media and Communications of the Muslim Public Affairs Centre, MPAC, said terrorism is a violation of the teachings of Islam.

He said: “Islam condemns all acts of terrorism, whether carried out by individuals, groups or states. We repudiate anyone or any group that plans or carries out a terrorist act and we welcome early actions by law enforcement authorities against credible threats to the safety of the traveling public,” he said.