26th July, 2011
ISLAMIC BANKING: MURIC ADVOCATES DIALOGUE
The ongoing debate on Islamic banking in Nigeria appears to be taking dangerous turns. A Christian clergy led his congregation on public protest round the streets of Warri. Bishops have issued threats and expressed the fear of Islamisation of the country. The Christian Association of Nigeria has also taken a tough anti-Islamic banking stance. On Sunday 24th July 2011, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Shariah reacted in kind.
We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), in total commitment to our avowed motto, 'Dialogue, Not Violence', urge all stakeholders to remain level-headed. We believe that beheading is not the cure for headache. We call on Muslims in the country to continue on the path of civilized debate and intellectual enlightenment. We have no doubt that superior logic and common sense will eventually sway the pendulum.
We therefore appeal for calm among all Islamic organizations, Muslim youths and leaders. In particular, we charge Muslim leaders to desist from issuing inflammatory statements. Enduring relationships are not built on threats but on mutual respect. Even a huge financial enterprise like Islamic banking system requires a peaceful atmosphere to grow. Nigeria has suffered enough retardation in the hands of man-made disasters in form of religious and tribal disturbances. Nigeria has all the potentials to become a great country but it needs peace and stability to fully realize this potential.
MURIC urges Christian leaders to allow reason to prevail and to avoid playing to the gallery. The positive statements issued by knowledgeable Christians particularly finance experts like Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala should be objectively studied and analyzed. Responsible leadership demands that the followership should not be misled at any point in time. It is high time Christian leaders appreciated the fact that equal rights and equal participation are the sine qua non lubricants of the engine of democracy.
Music is sweet to the ears but both the white and black keys must be played to get harmony. No good musician will harp on white or black keys alone. The advocates of Islamic banking have not suggested the closure of existing banks. Democracy necessitates tolerance of alternatives. Nigeria became a debtor nation due to the frivolous interest charges in debt servicing. Let us therefore try another financial system without the burden of the current high interest of 24%, one that will run pari passu with the existing ones. Islamic banking offers that opportunity.
Finally, we assure fellow Nigerians that Muslims are committed to peaceful coexistence. Nobody is going to war over Islamic banking or any other religious issue. We therefore urge all citizens to go about their lawful duties without fear. The religion of Islam is about jaw-jaw, not war-war. It gives life, not death. It seeks to build, not to destroy. Islam is about forgiveness, not vengeance. It radiates love, not hatred.
Dr. Is-haq Akintola,
Is-haq Akintola (Ph.D),
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC),
Yahoo Group: groups.yahoo.com/group/muslimrights
Be just Justice is the soul of peace
No one can deny one and have the other
Neither can violence or naked force bring lasting peace