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'
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
MASQUERADE ATTACK ON MOSQUE: YORUBA MUSLIMS ARE BEING PROVOKED
MASQUERADE ATTACK ON MOSQUE: YORUBA
MUSLIMS ARE BEING PROVOKED
Muslims inside the Central Mosque in Ikun Ekiti, Moba Local Government Area of
Ekiti state on Tuesday, 30th May, 2017. The incident occurred around
7 pm in the evening when the Muslims had just broken their fast and they were
observing the Maghrib prayer. Several worshippers were injured and some
of them were hospitalized after the attack. Two cars parked outside the mosque
were damaged. The mosque also suffered damage.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns this attack
on peace-loving and law-abiding Muslims. It is most barbaric, most provocative
and highly unacceptable.
This attack cannot be
isolated from the hostile and belligerent attitude of the governor of Ekiti
State, Ayodele Fayose, towards Muslims in the state as well as their mosques. We
are inclined to declare that the masquerades who attacked Muslims inside their
mosques in Ikun Ekiti took the cue from the governor’s open hostility towards
Ekiti Muslims and his determination to destroy mosques in the state. It is
already clear that Fayose has declared Muslims in the state as persona non grata
and their mosques legitimate targets for destruction.
MURIC therefore charges the Inspector General of Police
(IGP) to wade into the matter before the total breakdown of law and order in
the state. We demand immediate arrest and prosecution of the culprits. This
will discourage reprisal attacks by those who feel that they have been victimized.
The fact that the
Muslims were attacked inside their mosque is quite instructive. The
masqueraders alleged that they had warned the Muslims not to pray during their
Egungun festival. They claimed that the adhan (Muslim call to prayer) that
was called provoked them.
This is nauseating.
When did the Muslims’ adhan turn into a weapon of mass destruction? Who
did the adhan injure? How can the prayers being offered by Muslims inside
their own mosque become pernicious to the masquerades who were passing by? The
worship of one faithful should not deter another from his own worship.
We admit that the masquerades have a right to mark their
festival. But their right stops where that of the Muslims starts. Egungun
worshippers have no right under the sun to enter the mosque in the first place,
talk less of going there to attack those inside with dangerous weapons. Their
right to hold a rally and go round the city of Ikun Ekiti stops at the
doorsteps of the mosque. They can pass by but they should not enter the mosque.
Every Nigerian knows
the times that Muslims observe prayers. Those masquerades or their sponsors
have no right to ask Muslims to suspend their prayer because they want to pass.
We Muslims love our neighbours and we are prepared to coexist peacefully but on
equal terms. We are not second class citizens and we will not accept
intimidation of any kind.
We assert the right of
Muslims to call the adhan and pray at the scheduled times. No homo
sapien should deprive them of this Allah-given fundamental human right.
Freedom of religion is firmly entrenched in the Nigerian constitution, not
freedom for one religion to laud it over the other. Section 38 (i) & (ii) of
the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is very clear about
This attack has blown the lid off the myth of religious
tolerance in the South West. There is nothing like it. Muslims are facing
persecution in Yorubaland. The wind has blown. We have seen the ruff of the
hen. The reality is that religious tolerance in the South West is restricted to
relations, colleagues at work and known faces.
This is why Muslims and Christians may live together in the
same house without fighting. It does not extend to unknown faces. It does not accommodate
the institution of religion itself. Religious tolerance in the South West is
therefore a farce, a mirage. Unless something is done urgently to address this ugly
phenomenon, religious crisis in the South West hangs above our heads like the
sword of Damocles.
For instance, none of
the masquerades who attacked the Muslims inside their mosque on that day will
fight any of his siblings at home for being a Muslim. Neither will he attack
his Muslim colleague at work. But he will be among the first to cry foul if
Muslims make any demand as a corporate body. There is no genuine love, no real tolerance.
This is the bitter truth.
It is therefore high
time the wings of traditional worshippers were clipped. They arrogate
illegitimate powers to themselves, e.g. by unilaterally declaring curfews for
the purpose of rituals. No followers of one religion should have the power to
restrict the movements of adherents of another religion. Yet this is what traditional
religionists have been doing over the years. The police often ignore this breach
of the law and allow traditionalists to unleash reign of terror on law-abiding
Yet again we have a lesson to draw here. This kind of
incident is what often leads to terrorism. Muslims are often accused of being
violent. Our contention is that violence or terrorism is ordinary smoke and
there can never be smoke without fire. The fire of terrorism is provocation.
Those who deride Muslims, those who stigmatise them and those who encroach on Allah-given
and fundamental human rights of Muslims are the real terrorists. Worse still,
law enforcement agents who refuse to take action against those who provoke
Muslims are equally culpable. What action has the Ekiti Police Command taken after
the brutalization of Muslims by masquerades in Ikun Ekiti mosque?
As we round up, we
call on the IGP to quickly wade into the furore. Masquerades who attacked
Muslims inside the mosque in Ikun Ekiti must be arrested and prosecuted for,
breaking and entering, willful damage, thuggery, hooliganism, attempted murder
and breach of the peace. The Nigerian Police must nip illegal curfews in the
bud by making a strong statement banning unauthorised curfew anywhere in
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)