This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
The founder of Omega
Fire Ministries, Johnson Suleman, recently instructed members of his church to
kill Fulanis. An attempt by operatives of the Department of State Security
(DSS) to arrest him in Ado Ekiti yesterday was foiled by Governor Ayodele
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns Pastor
Johnson Suleman’s vituperations. It is provocative, irresponsible and
unpatriotic. In the same vein, we are nonplussed by Governor Fayose’s penchant
for preventing security agents from performing their lawful duties. By
shielding such a high profile suspect, Fayose has manifested blatant disregard
for the rule of law, encouraged lawlessness and exhibited executive brigandage.
Pastor Johnson Suleman
wants to make the country unsafe for Muslims and law abiding Fulanis. It is not
in our character to issue threats. We are mature enough to control our
emotions. Yet it is not out of cowardice that we prefer to tow the path of
peaceful coexistence. Muslims have never been known to fear death or to
compromise their faith. But we do not want to join issues with belligerent
people who are always bullying Muslims and Fulanis by telling lies and issuing
threats. Neither do we want to heat up the polity.
What will ordinary Muslims do when we exchange banters with
firebrand Christian extremists like Johnson? Why should religious leaders speak
as if they have stocked heaps of weapons in hiding? Why should spiritual guides
incite their followers to kill and maim? What do religious leaders gain from
goading their followers to shed blood?
The victims are
usually the poor masses who are hypnotized by the rhetoric and mesmerized by
the oratorical skills of their fanatical leaders. This is why leaders must
weigh every word they utter. Leaders are models. They must live by example and
teach their followers to learn how to love, to tolerate, to forgive and to
Nigerians to objectively and critically examine the Fulani herdsmen phenomenon.
They should not allow some misguided spiritual
leaders who have hidden agenda to becloud their sense of assessment. Fulanis
have been coming to Nigeria before the 1914 amalgamation. Their nomadic and
pastoral flow has never waned since the first Fulanis came from Futa Toro in
Senegal in the 11th century. We should therefore not be surprised
that the criminal elements among the herdsmen are not even Nigerians. They are
Senegalese and Malians.
It is therefore unwise of us as Nigerians to allow a few
lawless foreigners to cause religious or ethnic war in our land. Let us
separate criminals from their tribe or religion. We should resist the
temptation to stigmatise Fulanis or Muslims because a few herdsmen take the law
into their hands. For the avoidance of doubts, we denounce the criminal
activities of these herdsmen but we should mind where we point accusing
Are Nigerians unaware that the same Fulani herdsmen have
are also been attacking and killing Muslims in Zamfara, Niger, Kano, Bauchi and
other Northern states? Why have we been ignoring this angle if we are sincere?
Has the status of a herdsman changed when he attacks a Northern farmer or a
Muslim and steals his cattle?Let us be
objective. Let us stop criminalizing Fulanis and demonizing Muslims. It is the
height of hypocrisy and absolute lack of patriotism to give the criminal
activities a religious or ethnic colouration.
We therefore call on
the Nigerian security agencies to do the needful. Nobody is above the law.
Fayose or no Fayose, Pastor Johnson Suleman must still be questioned and
cautioned for his vituperations and provocative statements. He cannot remain
tied to Fayose’s apron string forever.
Even Fayose should be
told point blank that his days as a free man are numbered. He must answer for
his executive rascality and lawlessness. No governor in the history of Nigeria
has abused his office like Fayose has done. His cup of executive recklessness
has been filled to the brim. The people of Ekiti State have indeed entered a
‘one chance’ bus. Or what do we say about a state governor who is seldom sober?
We do not need a micro-biologist to tell us whether or not Fayose has the ‘area
boy’ syndrome virus.
We charge the Nigerian
security agencies to spare no effort in dealing decisively with the notorious
herdsmen who have brought untold hardship to Nigerian farmers. The full wrath
of the law must be unleashed on them for killing innocent farmers and
destroying their farms. We appeal to Muslims to go about their lawful duties
and to remain calm and law abiding. We invite religious leaders to douse
tension in their areas of influence in order to allow peace to reign.
As we round up, we remind the United Nations Organisation,
the European Union and the African Union to take note of the hate speeches
emanating from Nigeria and their authors for the day when the come will come to
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
ON WOMEN’S RIGHTS: DON’T POLLUTE OUR CLEAN WATER
The Nigerian Senate has been rushing through a bill on
discrimination against women and equal inheritance shares since August 2016. The
bill has gone through its second reading. But the Sultan of Sokoto and
President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad
Sa‘ad Abubakar III, has already expressed strong objection to the bill.
The Muslim Rights
Concern (MURIC) is on the same page with the Sultan. We strongly condemn
attempts to interfere in the private lives of Muslims without consulting them.
The Nigerian Senate is fishing in troubled waters if it goes ahead with the
bill as planned without considering the position of Muslims.
We assert that Islam has already liberated Muslim women and they
are not discriminated against in any form. We remind Senate that discrimination
against women was common around the world in ancient times. It never obtained
in Islam. On the contrary, it was Islam which liberated women.
For the records, women were regarded as minors (no matter their
age) and inferior creatures in ancient Greece. In Rome, they were given away in
marriage without consent. Only males could inherit in India and any Indian
woman whose husband died must be burned alive. In Persia they were pawned away
in gambling. Female infanticide was the order of the day in ancient Arabia
before Islam as the woman who failed to beget a male child had her female child
But Islam changed all
that. The Glorious Qur’an liberated women. They can work, earn income and own
property (Qur’an 4:32). A Muslim woman is free to choose her own husband (Qur’an
4:19). Her dowry belongs to her (Qur’an 4:4). She can sue for divorce (Qur’an 4:128).
The husband is under compulsion to feed, accommodate and clothe his wife
according to his means (Qur’an 65:6 – 9).
What the brains behind the equal rights bill in Senate should have
done is to study what obtains among the various cultures in Nigeria before
attempting to impose any bill on us. It is an open secret that women are
discriminated against in some places in this country, particularly in Southern
Nigeria. Women are made to drink the water used to wash the corpse of their
dead husbands to ascertain whether or not they had a hand in their husband’s
death. They are not allowed to inherit their husbands.
But that does not apply to Muslim women. We accept the death of
husbands as Allah’s wish. It is not in our character to demonise our women or
to accuse them of witchcraft. We cherish them. We love them. Our women are our
mothers and daughters and Allah has instructed us to show them love (Qur’an
30:21) and treat them with kindness (Qur’an 4:19).
Therefore nobody should pretend to liberate Muslim women from
any perceived oppression. What have the champions of the equal rights bill done
about Muslim women who are disallowed daily from using hijab in this country?
Who gagged them when the hijab worn by a female Muslim candidate was yanked off
by a WAEC supervisor in an examination hall in August 2016? What have they said
so far since we have had to go to court to assert Allah-given fundamental human
right of female Muslim students to use hijab?
We advise Senate to
listen to the Sultan. The leader of Nigerian Muslims has spoken. We will not
stand akimbo while a group of legislators rubbish the word of Allah. Islam has
already legislated on the shares of women in inheritance and this is not
debatable as far as Muslims are concerned. Islam does not discriminate against
widows. It is certain traditional cultures which do. That does not warrant the
imposition of unIslamic laws on Muslims who have already been protected by
Islamic laws on inheritance.
It is equally didactic that the umbrella body of all Muslim
women organizations in the country, the Federation of Muslim Women Associations
in Nigeria (FOMWAN) reeled out its position paper on the issue on January 7,
2017. FOMWAN rejected the bill, supported the Sultan’s position and warned
Senate not to meddle with Muslims’ affairs. We also have it on good authority
that FOMWAN leadership met the originator of the bill, Senator Christine Biodun
Olujinmi last week and they told her their position.
One major problem with Nigeria is that those who claim to be
interested in reform always ignore the stakeholders, particularly Muslims. They
always pretend that certain perceived inequalities are general. They therefore
attempt sweeping changes. But Muslims do not need reforms which ignore their
Allah-given fundamental human rights. Nobody can love Muslims more than the
Muslims themselves. We refuse to be led by the nose. You cannot give us what we
already have. We already have clean and pure water. It is from Allah. It is
divine. Caveat emptor, don’t pollute our water.
should learn from the Indian Succession Act of 1925. Under this law, every
Indian woman can inherit equally with her male counterpart except those who are
Bhudists, Hindus, Sikhs, Jainists and Muslims. This means that the Indian Act
of 1925 recognized the laws of succession of Muslims and other faiths in India.
In other words, our senators can go ahead with the bill, but please exempt
Permit us, therefore, to round up by affirming our rejection for
the equal rights bill as passed by Senate. That law should not apply to
Muslims. We have our own succession law which is already recognized by the
Nigerian constitution. We support the application of the Senate bill to the
oppressed women in other religions and cultures in the country. They need it.
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
The past one week has witnessed reckless violence in Southern
Kaduna. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Catholic Archdiocese
of Kafanchan have claimed that about 808 people have been killed so far in 53
The Muslim Rights
Concern (MURIC) condemns these killings. We hate violence. We detest the sight
of blood. Human life is sacred and nobody has the right to take the life of a
fellow human being.
Nonetheless, we call for caution. We remind all stakeholders
that both the Qur’an and the Bible enjoin caution in cases like this. The two
scriptures ask mankind to investigate all cases before jumping to conclusions
(Qur’an 49:6; 1st Thessalonians 5:21).
Both the press and the security agencies have questions to
answer on the pogrom going on in Southern Kaduna: the press for giving the
Nigerian public only one side of the story and the security agencies for
allowing the killings to continue unabated. We remind the Federal Government
(FG) that the primary duty of government is to protect the citizens’ lives and
properties. Article 14 Section 2(b) of
the 1999 Constitution states that “the security and welfare of the people shall
be the primary purpose of government”.
MURIC is concerned that the public has been fed with only the
Christian side of the story. Justice and fair hearing demands that we hear from
the other side. What happened to professionalism on the part of the press? Is
hearing from the other side also not part of investigative journalism? Are
there no Islamic organizations in Southern Kaduna? What of the Muslim Youth
Foundation of Southern Kaduna (MYFOSKA)? Why haven’t they been interviewed?
The Nigerian press should not be asymmetrical. Parochial
reportage is an ill wind that will blow nobody any good. We can only know the
beginning of a crisis. Nobody can predict its end. Those who fan the embers of
violence may end up as victims. MURIC feels concerned whenever there is
violence in Nigeria. What this country needs for economic recovery and
political stability is peace.
MURIC is in possession
of documents which prove that Muslims were the first victims of attacks in
Southern Kaduna and the attacks which targeted Muslim business premises, homes
and families had begun since October 2016. But we will not release the
documents yet so that the conflict will not exacerbate. Suffice it to note that
security agents have caught some Christians with arms in the area since the
conflict began some days ago.
We therefore take CAN’s allegation of official endorsement of
the killings with a pinch of salt. It is subtle blackmail. Why must CAN’s
handling of every crisis be clouded in religious profiling? It is high time we started
to see our leaders as Nigerians and not as belonging to any particular tribe or
faith. Criminals also must be seen from the point of view of their actions and
not necessarily associated with their religion or ethnic group. Herdsmen must therefore
be called herdsmen and not necessarily tied to the aprons of Muslims or
Finally, we charge the Federal Government to flood Southern Kaduna
with security personnel. We welcome the Senate’s decision to probe the Southern
Kaduna crisis. We call on Muslims in Southern Kaduna to remain calm and law
abiding, to refrain from issuing inflammatory statements and to cooperate with
security agents posted to the area. We appeal to CAN and the Catholic
archdiocese of Kafanchan to douse tension among Christians in Southern Kaduna.
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)