By Derenle Animasaun
We have no shame
So you already know you are an outsider, as far as you are concerned you know there is somewhere, someplace that we call home had been divided up along the lines of faith and ruled by terror on the basis of your religion. It is a tragic recklessness and a slap in the face of every well-meaning and sane Nigerian. The Nigerians I meet here are my fellow Nigerians; we share a country and have more in common than what separate us regardless of their state or their religion. If we could get along abroad why can’t we get along in Nigeria?
So in a place where I cannot call home, I get treated with some respect and I can attend and go out without fear or intimidation to a place of worship of my faith. Over here mosques, churches, temples are built barely a stone throw from one another. Over here in schools, children are taught religious education, given an education where they learn about other religions, history and facts, this does help foster tolerance as well as educate the young people on other religion other than the one they ascribe to.
Now that is what I call tolerance but in all I do believe that there has to be more emphasis in educating our young in Nigeria. Not only that, education will also ensure that they are out of the clutches of those that want to brain wash them into terror.
The poverty and disparity is disgraceful so the resentments is palpable and we cannot afford to breed young, impressionable, poor, uneducated, unemployed and unemployable minds with no prospect for the future. What we are doing is inadvertently moulding them for an alternative occupation such as terror, kidnapping and major crimes.
Tolerance can only exist if we address the level of poverty, unemployment, corruption, inequality of opportunities and standard of living. We have got to reduce the senseless hatred that divides our people and our leaders should be leading the way. It heartens me when I read that the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar and Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola have addressed Muslims at a public event to openly beseech Muslims to unite, stay tolerant and be at peace with all fellow Nigerians regardless of their faith. The Sultan was resolute in his address that Islam will, and always will remain a religion of peace. He said: “Those who claim to be doing what they are doing in terms of terrorism in the name of Islam are on their own. They are not doing anything for Islam or Muslims but for themselves. Nothing more, nothing less!
And that is why when I hear people refer to these terrorists as Islamic terrorists, I always feel bad. I have said it so many times that Islam does not approve terrorism or the taking of anybody’s life.” and Aregbesola said “a Muslim, who promotes chaos and disharmony has deviated from the teachings of Islam and a good Muslim is required to exemplify the best in conduct through accommodation, tolerance and forbearance for him to be called a good Muslim”.
CAN the mischief
The transparent discourteous open letter to the Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, in which the Christian group accused the Sultan of being economical with the truth and that he was silent over the decimation of Christian communities in the North by Islamic fundamentalists.
This is so disingenuous and uncharitable. The writers did not hide their hatred as the content of the diatribe moved from thinly veiled courtesy to utter disprect and deep seated hatred . We have been here before and it is so apparent that someone is stoking the fire of hatred, divide and conquer. It is not going to work, we can see through your message.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) need not have responded. But they did.
According to them, they laid the finger of blame at the door of the president of CAN, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, who blamed the Sultan for not waiting for the next NIREC meeting before disagreeing with him in public.
This was not true according to the director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, and accused Ayokunle of lying, deception and incitement; “MURIC takes serious objection to the response of CAN to the Sultan. Imagine CAN president, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, arguing that the Sultan should have waited for the next meeting of NIREC to fault his (Ayokunle’s) claim instead of debunking it publicly. How reasonable is that?
“How can the Sultan wait for a private forum to fault a lie that was told in public? Are the discussions in NIREC in the public domain? How can you remove a woman’s clothes in the market place and expect her friends to wait until she arrives home naked before they cover her up? Isn’t that warped logic?
“The Sultan is a notable bridge-builder primus inter pareil and a peace-maker nulli seconds. If some religious leaders specialize in creating tension, the Sultan’s vocation is dousing tension. If some leaders are adept at inciting their followers, the Sultan is always there to calm nerves”
This 2020, we should not be careless with dog whistle and sabre rattling we have a nation to build, feed and unite.
“The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, and forgiveness.” — Dalai Lama XIV”