29th August, 2011
NIGERIA: LIVING IN FEAR
As Muslims throughout the word celebrate the Id al-Fitr to mark the end of the Ramadan season, we of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) felicitate with fellow Nigerians.
We charge Muslims to justify their abstinence from food, drinks and all bad habits during Ramadan by upholding this great culture of self-discipline after the holy month. Those who were able to ignore food at the height of hunger, drink at the peak of thirst and immoral acts at the climax of temptation must not allow themselves to fall cheaply at the feet of mere frivolities.
MURIC reminds Nigerian Muslims in particular and the rest of the citizenry in general of the main objective of fasting during Ramadan. This goal is expressly stated in Qur'an 2: 183, thus, "Oh you who believe, fasting is prescribed unto you just as it was prescribed to those before you so that you may fear Allah."
It is clear from the above verse that fasting is prescribed in order to make man pious, self-restraining and morally upright. It therefore behoves every Muslim to be Allah-conscious and Allah-fearing. Whether he is a leader or a follower, a Muslim must be of exemplary character. Above all, he must be a good neighbor, loving, tolerant and forgiving. He must radiate peaceful coexistence. He must be an embodiment of peace.
It is in this regard that MURIC calls attention to the sad incident of suicide bombing at the United Nations complex in Abuja which occurred on Friday, 26th August, 2011, killing 23 people. It is, to say the least, a tragedy of monumental proportion which must be condemned by all right-thinking persons. The Boko Haram group, which has since claimed responsibility, thus succeeded in creating a culture of fear in the country.
Yet as we denounce this dastardly act, we reiterate our call upon the Federal Government to engage Boko Haram in constructive dialogue. Government appears to be procrastinating on the issue of dialogue with the group. This is not good enough. We expect the Federal Government to take the safety of lives and properties of its citizens very seriously. MURIC affirms that it is time to face reality. A group that could penetrate police headquarters and inflict such damage on the UN office should be taken seriously. True statesmanship involves the ability to respect an enemy who, though he may not be able to build, has the capacity to destroy.
By foot-dragging on the issue of dialogue with Boko Haram, Aso Rock is unwittingly compelling innocent Nigerians to live in perpetual fear. Whereas dialogue has the tendency to slow down Boko Haram's belligerence, nonchalance will only fuel the flame of attacks. The tragedy of history is that men learn nothing from the lessons of history. Otherwise the way the Niger Delta crisis was resolved should have taught Aso Rock a lesson, namely, that force alone does not douse tension. Neither does respect for the opposition signify weakness.
We therefore urge the Federal Government to free Nigerians from this atmosphere of fear and psychological trauma by setting the machinery in motion for constructive dialogue with the Boko Haram group. Government must not only do this, but must be seen to be doing it. Only thus can Nigerians be saved from untimely, unnecessary, yet avoidable deaths.
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