|10th January, 2012|
KILLING OF MUSLIMS AND BURNING OF MOSQUES IN THE SOUTH
Reports reaching the headquarters of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) affirm that many Muslims have been killed in the past few days in Edo and Delta States. Some have been burned to ashes, others have been maimed. Just yesterday, Monday 9th January 2012, three Muslims were reported killed during the attack on Benin Central Mosque alone and the mosque itself was allegedly burned down. Reports say two mosques have been bombed in Sapele alone. Thousands have embarked on an exodus to their states of origin in the face of threats and ultimatums issued by groups in Southern Nigeria against Northerners and Muslims.
MURIC is deeply disturbed by this ugly development. In the same manner that we denounce the barbarism of Boko Haram, we condemn the perpetrators of animosities against Muslims and Northerners and warn that the carnage must stop. We are perturbed that men of Edo police command failed to stop the burning of Benin Central Mosque and the killing of Muslims in the same mosque in the hands of anti-subsidy protesters when the police are supposed to be monitoring the movements of protesters.
The Muslim Rights Concern does not issue threats. Neither does it engage in violence. Our avowed motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'. Unless people are out for mischief, the whole world knows that Muslims and Northerners resident in the South are neither members of Boko Haram nor are they sympathetic to the dissident group. They have also never been known to engage in any act of violence. It is an open fact that Muslims are equally not safe in the hands of Boko Haram and the latter has killed several Muslim clerics.
Therefore any attack targeted at Northerners or Muslims resident in the South is not only misplaced but it is a miscarriage of justice. Revenge is a square peg. Justice is a round hole. They are parallel lines that can never meet. We therefore demand immediate and unconditional halt of hostilities against Northerners and Muslims in the South. We fear that unless the police and other security agencies are alive to their responsibilities, Southern Nigeria may be plunged into a crisis of unimaginable proportion.
We demand effective protection for all non-Southerners resident in the South. Equal protection must also be given to all non-Northerners resident in the North. We charge religious leaders on both divides to caution their followers and to preach lessons capable of healing wounds. Mutual forgiveness is the way forward. The role of the press is central at this critical stage. MURIC urges the Fourth Estate of the realm to discharge its duties fairly and responsibly.
Finally, we urge Christians and Muslims in the South West to maintain their traditional neighbourliness, to love and to forgive, to tolerate and share in order to put agents of destruction to eternal shame. The attention of the international community, particularly the United Nations, is being called to the killing of Muslims and the bombing and burning of mosques in Southern Nigeria.
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