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What is their problem?

By Donu Kogbara
WHY do militant Muslims keep looking for excuses to inflict murder and mayhem on various societies and make themselves objects of near-universal loathing?

The latest wahala revolves around an American-made film that insults their Prophet. There have been violent protests against the film in several countries. And I still can’t quite believe that Chris Stevens, the US Ambassador to Libya – a good man who was passionately committed to providing Libyans with a better future – was killed because a mob set fire to his embassy last week.

As I’ve said on this page before, I have received more help from Muslims than Christians and never forget that I would have been a Muslim myself if I had grown up in a place where Islam was the dominant faith; and I totally agree with Bishop Ransom Bello, the Kano State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, who described Muslims as “Brothers” and roundly condemned the film.

Like the Bishop and all decent Christians the world over (America included), I have absolutely no time for stupid, irresponsible, attention-seeking film-makers whose so-called artistic efforts cause offence and promote religious conflict.

But I don’t see why anyone should fly into an uncontrollable frenzy because of a mere movie that happens to be full of blasphemous rubbish…especially when it was produced by a complete nonentity of a failed video producer whom hardly anyone had ever heard about, even in the States.

Some non-Christians
regularly heap vitriol on Christian values. Some even make extremely derogatory remarks about Jesus Christ Himself and describe me as daft for being a Believer. Meanwhile, anti-Christian books and films occasionally make their way into the public domain. But I’m not going to leave my house, wild-eyed, to whip up a riot and burn a few buildings and anyone who gets in the way!

Dangerous militancy

Why are so many Muslims so prone to dangerous militancy? Why do so many descend into boiling rages at the drop of a hat? Why are some of them such awful bullies? Why is wanton, indiscriminate nastiness their default setting?

Why can’t they cope with the concept of freedom of speech or copy fundamentalist Christians when they feel violated…and restrict their complaints about abusive films and criticisms in general to normal protest marches, verbal rants and stinging written rejoinders? Why can’t they accept the truth…which is that some Christians (some Americans included) are really nice folks who genuinely wish them well and hold Islamic culture in high esteem?

I was so excited and felt privileged when I got a chance to visit the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem; and I love TV slots that enable me to watch thousands of White-clad Muslim Faithful praying in Mecca during Ramadan. It’s a beautiful and moving sight. But I don’t want to be a Muslim because there are aspects of Islam that don’t suit my personality (the rule about women having to cover their heads when they are away from home, for example).

There are also aspects of my own religion – Catholicism – that don’t thrill me (the Vatican’s insistence that “artificial” birth control is a sin, for example).

But I’m accustomed to Christianity and bitterly resent those who seek to impose sharia law on me. Why can’t they mind their business and let us all do our own separate things on the devotional front and co-exist amicably?

Don’t these overbearing extremists realise that they damage their credibility, inspire hatred, give their religion a bad name and embarrass their moderate Muslim brethren whenever they indulge in these spectacular bouts of destructive homicidal misbehaviour?

As a moderate Muslim pal of mine sadly said when Stevens died: “Do they REALLY believe that the Prophet would have approved of their conduct?”

Condolences to a senior friend

PROFESSOR Bolaji Akinyemi, the renowned academic and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, has been a distinguished presence on our national stage for decades. He has also been a highly valued reader of this column for some years and is sometimes kind enough to take time out from his busy schedule to phone me to offer his opinions about current affairs issues I’ve written about.

We sometimes start off with different viewpoints but my respect for him is such that I have sometimes changed my perspective purely because of the comments he has shared with me. Even when he doesn’t persuade me to adjust my outlook, he always makes sense and Nigeria needs more men like him.

“Prof”, as I call him, recently lost his younger brother, Major (retd) Akinloye Akinyemi. And I want to seize this opportunity to publicly offer him and the entire Akinyemi family sincere condolences for their sad loss.

Kate messes up!

KATE, nee Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is married to Prince William of Wales, the heir to the British throne; and she will eventually become the Queen of the United Kingdom and its various Commonwealth outposts.

So you can imagine the fuss that ensued when a French magazine published photographs last week of her relaxing topless while she was on holiday.

The Duchess has successfully sued the magazine and a lot of people have quite rightly condemned the photographer for sleazily invading her privacy.

But I don’t understand celebrity women who risk nakedness in places where they can be spotted by passing photographers (and may even also be seen by domestic staff). And I think that we should thank God that our First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, would never dream of doing such a thing!



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