Sunday, July 27, 2014

END OF RAMADAN CONTROVERSY: MURIC STANDS BY THE SULTAN


27th July, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
END OF RAMADAN CONTROVERSY:
MURIC STANDS BY THE SULTAN


Nigerian Muslims ended their fasting today as they mark the Id ul-Fitr festival. But some sections of the media have also reported that there are differences among Nigerian Muslims on the issue of ending Ramadan today or tomorrow.     


The Muslim Rights Concern congratulates the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’d Abubakar III, the Muslim Ummah both in Nigeria and all over the world as well as the good people of Nigeria for witnessing the end of the Ramadan.


We affirm that there is no need for any controversy at all because the moon was sighted in eleven states and the sighting was reported to His Eminence the Sultan. We believe that he acted rightly by going ahead to make the announcement.


Nigerian Muslims have no reason to doubt the sincerity of His Eminence. This is a man who has demonstrated great leadership qualities. He has always been consulting Muslim leaders all over the country. Unlike before he came on board, the Sultan has held regular meetings with Muslim leaders. He is definitely not an armchair President-General of the NSCIA because he has been all over Nigeria, travelling almost every week to attend Islamic occasions as far away as Enugu, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Ijebu, Ile-Ife, Auchi, Benin, Kogi, Minna, Maiduguri, etc.


He has demonstrated good intention at all times. He has also been demonized by detractors and enemies of Nigeria because they saw dynamism in him. For these reasons alone we believe that Sultan Abubakar III deserves to be heard and obeyed.


We must also not forget that the Committee on Moon-sighting was created by the Sultan and whoever sits as chairman of that committee is acting on the Sultan’s behalf. While we have great respect for members of the committee who differed in their opinion, we hold that the technical expertise of the members of the committee pales in significance in the face of the need for the overall unity of the Muslim Ummah.


In our humble opinion, what is responsible for the seeming disparity is the fact that the whole Ramadan exercise itself started on a controversial note. Some started on Saturday 28th June, 2014 while others started on Sunday 29th June. This was acknowledged in the NSCIA press statement two days ago. Therefore there was no premeditated desire to disobey or disagree with the Sultan.


The NSCIA Secretary General, Professor Ishaq Oloyede has done a marvelous job in reforming the NSCIA secretariat and he has very cordial relations with the Sultan.  In like manner, all members of the Moon-sighting Committee have great respect for the person of the Sultan.


We therefore have no modicum of doubt that this is a minor issue. We assure Nigerians that it is a mere family affair which will not generate any bad blood. Muslims are one brotherhood and we will get over this sooner than anyone can imagine. The committee was created by the Sultan and it will meet the Sultan to resolve grey areas particularly for the purpose of ensuring that it will not be repeated in future.


MURIC however affirms that a larger portion of the Nigerian Muslim population from all over Nigeria is observing the Id today. This shows the great popularity and acceptability of the Sultan among Nigerian Muslims. For the avoidance of doubt, we confirm that the whole North, the whole South-East and some parts of the South-West have followed the Sultan and consequently they have all observed the Id prayer and are celebrating the Id today.


Finally, MURIC registers a resounding vote of confidence in the leadership of His Eminence, Sultan Abubakar III.


Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


Saturday, July 26, 2014

WAY OUT OF THE ID LOGJAM


Salaam All,

My view is that as our leader His Eminence the Sultan has announced that the moon has been sighted, we should hear and obey because he made the announcement based on reliable reports. Those who started their fast on Saturday 28th June already have fasted 29.

As for those whose fasts are still 28 because they started on Sunday 29th June, I advise that they also go to Id today in obedience to the leadership and make up the remaining one fast on the next day. It is not advisable to fast on Id day.

TODAY IS ID: THE MOON HAS BEEN SIGHTED


Alhamdulilah the moon was sighted in Sokoto, Kebbi and about nine other northern states. It was announced by His Eminence, Sultan Muhammad Sa’d Abubakar III. Id Mubarak to all our members.

SALAH MESSAGE: SET NIGERIANS FREE


26th July, 2014
SALAH MESSAGE:
SET NIGERIANS FREE


The month of Ramadan is grinding slowly to an end and Muslims all over the world are warming up for Id ul-Fitr which is the festival marking the end of Ramadan.      


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) reminds Nigerians of the lessons inherent in the fasting exercise. Apart from its health-related gains, Ramadan instills piety, reduces the propensity for profligacy, compels empathy, pegs immorality and engenders high-level discipline. These gains will be lost unless Nigerians allow these lessons to reflect in their lives ad infinitum.


According to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the beginning of Ramadan opens the door of blessings, its middle facilitates spirit of forgiveness while its end symptomises emancipation.


MURIC therefore calls on Nigerians to show mercy to their fellowmen, to forgive those who have offended them and to liberate all those in bondage.


With respect to the commencement of Ramadan which epitomizes the manifestation of mercy to one another, we appeal to state and local governments as well as wealthy Nigerians to set up ‘stomach welfare centers’ where hungry Nigerians can eat at least once daily.


The Federal Government should also establish a new ministry to be called ‘Welfare Ministry’ to serve this same purpose.


On the middle of Ramadan which signifies forgiveness, we call on Christians, Muslims and Traditionalists in Nigeria to evolve joint orientation programmes where emphasis will be placed on the lessons of love, tolerance and forgiveness. Fate has joined us all together in this country and the best we can do is to think first of saving our country from disintegration and total destruction.


As the end of Ramadan teaches liberation, we charge Nigerian authorities to immediately review all anti-people policies wherever and in whatever form they are being imposed. Let Nigerians go! Too many people are suffering. Too little people are enjoying. The masses only hear of trillions and billions of naira. Yet there is no bread on their tables.


Examples abound of such draconian policies: the new vehicle licence plate number should be given free to those who already have old ones. Vehicle owners did not obtain the old plate numbers gratis. Now they are being made to pay twice for the same product because plate numbers do not expire.  It is out-Heroding Herod to compel vehicle owners to pay for the new one.


Motorcycles confiscated from okada riders should be returned to them after three weeks. The seizure should be temporary, not permanent. The policy which allows permanent seizure lacks human face. It is spreading hunger and recruiting desperate foot-soldiers for robbery kingpins.


On the demolition of structures, adequate compensation should precede demolition and not vice versa. Aesthetic beauty is good for our environment but not at the expense of depriving people of their means of sustenance and places of abode.


Still on liberation as an integral part of the lessons at the end of Ramadan, MURIC charges governors to visit prisons at the end of this Ramadan to free prisoners awaiting trial, those whose offences are not so serious, elderly ones, nursing mothers and pregnant women among the inmates.


President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan should seize the opportunity of the Ramadan freedom package to take a decisive action capable of securing the freedom of the Chibok girls who are now in their 104th day in Boko Haram hideout. To Boko Haram leadership, MURIC says, “Let our girls go!”


Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)




Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MURIC COMMENDS FG & LASG


23rd July, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:

MURIC COMMENDS FG FOR STOPPING PERSECUTION OF MUSLIMS IN SOUTH-EAST; LAUDS LASG FOR EXTENDING MATERNITY LEAVE


The Federal Government yesterday stopped the registration and repatriation of non-indigenes anywhere in the country. It will be recalled that some state governments in the South Eastern part of Nigeria had for some time now requested people of Northern extraction to register and obtain non-indigene identity cards. They were also randomly arrested and harassed by security agents.


Several mosques in the zone had also been raided while Imams and other mosque workers were detained. Last week alone, men of the Nigerian Army on Monday 14th July raided several mosques in Aba, Abia State. They arrested the Chief Imam of Aba Central Mosque, Alhaji Bashir Idris and fourteen others.


Two teachers of the New Horizon Academy which is attached to Aba Central Mosque (the Chemistry teacher, Abdul Rahman Sani and the principal, Abdul Majid Abubakar) remained in detention. In a statement issued on Tuesday 15th July, 2014, The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) denounced the raids as “religious stigmatization, ethnic profiling and undue scapegoatism.”


MURIC lauds the Federal Government for taking action on this most sensitive issue. By outlawing the registration and witch-hunting of Nigerians on account of non-indigeneship, FG has demonstrated that it listens to complaints from the citizens.


FG’s latest action will also forestall the breakdown of law and order as a result of anticipated retaliatory measures from the Northern states. We therefore appeal to state governments, Northerners and Muslims throughout Nigeria who were provoked by those discriminatory actions to forget the ugly episodes and to desist from carrying out any action capable of making non-indigenes in their midst uncomfortable.


MURIC appeals to the security agencies holding the two teachers to set them free or to arraign them in a court of law if they wish to press charges against them. This will go a long way in dousing tension.


MURIC LAUDS LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT’S DECISION TO EXTEND MATERNITY LEAVE TO SIX MONTHS:


The Lagos State Government (LASG) also recently extended the maternity leave of nursing mothers from three to six months.


We recall that MURIC had made this demand in its Salah message dated 7th August 2013. In the message, we called the attention of the Nigerian authorities to the difficulties experienced by nursing mothers.


We reminded the authorities that the Glorious Qur’an actually stipulates two years for breastfeeding (Qur’an 2:233). We therefore charged the Nigerian authorities to extend the maternity leave of nursing mothers to six months.


MURIC congratulates LASG for being the first state in the federation to take this golden advice. Lagos even went a step further by granting a two-week paternity leave to ‘nursing fathers’. LASG has thus demonstrated that it leads while others follow. In view of the recommendation of medical experts that newly born children should be placed strictly on breast-milk diet only for the first six months, we charge other states of the federation to emulate the good step taken by Lagos.


As the father of the nation, MURIC charges President Jonathan to act in loco parentis on this landmark policy. The three months leave given to nursing mothers is grossly inadequate. A father cannot watch his daughters suffering in silence.


Mr. President should send an executive bill to the National Assembly seeking to extend maternity leave to six months. MURIC asserts clearly and unambiguously that the Nigerian girl-child, the Nigerian woman and indeed the Nigerian nursing mother deserves the pride of place in society.  


Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

RAID ON ABA MOSQUES: STOP PERSECUTING MUSLIMS IN SOUTH-EASTERN NIGERIA


15th July, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
RAID ON ABA MOSQUES: STOP  PERSECUTING MUSLIMS IN SOUTH-EASTERN NIGERIA

Men of the Nigerian Army on Monday raided several mosques in Aba, Abia State. They arrested the Chief Imam of Aba Central Mosque, Alhaji Bashir Idris and fourteen others.

Although the Chief Imam and twelve of those arrested were set free after rigorous interrogation that lasted hours at the 144 Battalion, Asa in Ukwa West council area of the state, two teachers of the New Horizon Academy which is attached to Aba Central Mosque were not released. It was alleged that the soldiers discovered substances suspected to be chemical at the school.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) denounces the constant raids on mosques which have become recurring decimal in the South Eastern part of Nigeria. The unfolding pattern reveals overzealousness on the part of Easterners and the security operatives based in the South-East. Flimsy excuses are being used to persecute Muslims and Northerners resident in their midst.

We affirm that this is contrary to the spirit of brotherhood expected among fellow Nigerians. It is also a usurpation of the Allah-given and fundamental human rights of Muslims and Northerners residing in the South-East as enshrined in Chapter IV, Section 41(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which stipulates that “Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereto or exit therefrom.”

MURIC frowns upon these constant raids on mosques because they constitute deliberate desecration of the sanctity of a place of worship. By constantly raiding mosques, Nigerian soldiers are setting a bad precedent. Also by molesting Imams and Islamic scholars, Nigerian security agencies are engaging in religious stigmatization, ethnic profiling and undue scapegoatism.

These actions are not only most unethical but also highly unprofessional. They stand in contradistinction to international best practices among security agencies around the world where the focus is on intelligence gathering instead of the manifestation of Stone Age security gimmicks and dictatorial Gestapo tactics.

By harassing Northerners and intimidating Muslims in the South-East, Nigerian security agents are sending out the wrong message to the rest of the world, to wit, that Muslims are now endangered species in Nigeria. This is unfortunate because it proves that we are not ready to integrate Nigerian Muslims in the Nigerian project.

The allegation that the two detained teachers were storing bomb-making chemicals is spurious, baseless and unfounded. MURIC therefore demands the immediate release of the two teachers, the Chemistry teacher, Abdul Rahman Sani and the principal, Abdul Majid Abubakar. Who does not know that chemicals are needed to teach chemistry? Instead of keeping them incommunicado beyond 48 hours, the duo should be arraigned in a properly constituted court of law if anything is found against them.

MURIC is alarmed that Igbo leaders are not doing anything to stem the tide of Islamophobia in the South East. We charge Ohaneze to rise above primordial sentiments and stop the harassment of innocent Northerners and Muslims in their midst. We call on the Nigerian security agencies to stop coercing Northerners and Muslims resident in the South-East.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


Saturday, July 5, 2014

ISLAMIC SCHOLAR & WIFE ABDUCTED


6th July, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
MURIC CHARGES SECURITY AGENTS TO PRODUCE ISLAMIC SCHOLAR & WIFE ABDUCTED IN OGUN STATE

Ustadh AbdulGaniy Jumah and his wife, Shakirah, were reportedly whisked away at gun point from his family house at Fagbemi Street, Off Ntabo Bus Stop, Ijoko, near Sango in Ado Odo Ota Local Government, Ogun State by 3 am yesterday morning (Saturday 5th July, 2014).
 
Although the abductors were said to be soldiers who came in three vehicles including a jeep, a bus and a van, none of them wore the army uniform. None of the neighbours could pick the vehicles’ plate numbers due to shock and confusion. Ustadh Abdul Ganiyy owns an Arabic school (modrasat) and teaches both working class and school children in Arabic and Islamic Studies in the area. Their whereabouts have since remained unknown.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) charges Nigerian security agents to produce the Islamic scholar and his wife whose abduction has started creating tension among Muslims in the whole South West. We remind the security agents that nothing warrants such night invasion since there is no state of emergency in the region.

We demand the immediate release of the Muslim couple or their arraignment in court within 48 hours of arrest according to the provisions of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

We suspect that this may be the beginning of a crackdown on scholars of Islam in Yorubaland in particular and the whole Southern Nigeria in general as part of the silent war on Islam in Western-dominated parts of the world.

Our suspicion is informed by the allegation that another Lagos-based Islamic scholar also disappeared last week. The miraculous disappearance of Razaq Gawat, a very popular Lagos-based Islamic socialite and televangelist is yet to be explained since about 14 months ago.

It is on record that millions of Muslims were killed in former Yugoslavia in the 90s. Muslims in Myanmar (formerly Burma) were burned in public and their homes destroyed in 2013.

Anti-Balaka Christian militants also recently hunted down, slaughtered or roasted hundreds of Muslims in the Central African Republic. In July this year, China banned fasting among Muslims. A blind, intolerant and anti-Muslim climate pervades the globe.

Yet while everybody is talking about peace, nobody is talking about justice. MURIC reminds Nigerian authorities that justice is the soul of peace. The same natural law of justice which stipulates that nobody can eat his cake and have it provides that nobody can deny one (justice) and still enjoy the other (peace).

The ongoing massacre of Muslims by Nigeria’s Boko Haram may be an orchestrated campaign being waged by unscrupulous elements in disguise with the aim of drastically reducing the population of Muslims in the country.

MURIC cautions Nigerian security agencies to desist from taking actions capable of generating tension. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Ustadh Abdul Ghaniy Jumah and his wife, Shakirah. They should be charged to a competent court of law if they are suspected of committing any crime.

Nonetheless, we are not foreclosing the possibility of the abductors being operatives of any other criminal group but the onus is on Nigerian security agents to find the Muslim couple.

We alert the Ogun State Government to this dangerous development. We appeal to Ogun State House of Assembly and the National Assembly to wade into the matter. The people’s representatives must show concern when innocent citizens start disappearing.

Meanwhile we call on Muslims throughout the country to remain calm and law-abiding.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)