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'
Thursday, June 1, 2017
NYSC RAMADAN CAMP: RESPECT MUSLIM LEADERS
NYSC RAMADAN CAMP: RESPECT MUSLIM
The 2017 camping
exercise of the Nigerian Youth Service Corp (NYSC) commenced last week
throughout the federation despite serious objections raised by the umbrella
body of all Islamic organizations in the country, the Nigerian Supreme Council
for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).
A similar objection
raised last year led to an agreement between NYSC authorities and Muslim
leaders that NYSC would not make further attempts to camp youth corpers during
Ramadan in subsequent years. Although the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
contacted NYSC leadership a few weeks before the camping started after
receiving complaints from prospective Muslim corpers, we were assured that all
stakeholders had been consulted. But it is now clear that differences still
MURIC is therefore disappointed with the recalcitrance of
the NYSC leadership whose demeanor depicted gross disrespect for the opinion of
the topmost echelon of the NSCIA. We affirm that the leader of all Nigerian
Muslims is the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the NSCIA, His
Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III. The Sultan has the inalienable
right and non-abdicatable, undeniable responsibility in loco parentis to look
after the welfare of Nigerian Muslims. You cannot treat Muslims with disdain
and expect the Sultan to keep quiet.
The fact that the Sultan’s advice was ignored in this
matter is rather unfortunate, nay preposterous and therefore unacceptable. It
should never happen again. Whoever rebuffs the Sultan has rebuffed all Nigerian
Muslims. Whoever disrespects our leader should not expect any cooperation from
us. The Nigerian Muslim Ummah is no longer what it used to be. The old order
has changed. The current leadership has taken us to the next level.
aggressive or abusive, without issuing threats or heating up the polity, the new
leadership of the past ten years has been able to reengineer the Muslim Ummah’s
rank and file. We live and let live. We tolerate, forgive and love. Yet we still
reject outright infringement on our Allah-given fundamental human rights and
attempts to cause unnecessary discomfort to Muslims to the advantage of people
of other faiths.
The fact that the current leadership of the NYSC is a
Muslim is instructive in this case. The issue is not the faith of the agency
instrumental to causing injury, stigma or discomfort to Muslims. We address
issues, not sentiment or personality. It is a matter of principle. In fact a
non-Muslim may be in that post tomorrow. Is it ideal to keep quiet now that our
brother is there but to start shouting when a non-Muslim becomes the director
general and he does the same thing? Islam is about justice and fairness.
That is why we are objecting
to NYSC camping during this 2017 Ramadan in spite of the fact that the current leadership
of the scheme is a fellow Muslim. That is objectivity. Nobody should express
surprise tomorrow if we oppose a policy which we deem pernicious to Muslim interest
under a non-Muslim chief executive in any agency. We will not oppose it because
the chief executive is not a Muslim but because it is based on principle.
Nigerians must learn
to do what is right at all times. We must be just to all. The Nigerian society
must be egalitarian. Christian sensibilities bust be respected. Muslim
interests and those of other faiths must be respected. In the interest of peace
and harmony, Nigerian authorities must always take the nation’s religious and
ethnic diversities into consideration. All anti-Muslim tabula rasa must
therefore be revisited. Without issuing threats, we are constrained to
reiterate that from now on, NIGERIAN MUSLIMS WILL TAKE EVERY CONSTITUTIONAL
STEP NECESSARY TO STOP MUSLIM CORPERS FROM BEING CAMPED DURING RAMADAN.
As we round up, we remind NYSC leadership of the pledge
made to MURIC leadership that adequate care will be taken of fasting Muslim corpers
in the 2017 camps all over the country. We advise NYSC leadership to avoid
picking controversial dates for its future camping exercises. We appeal to
Muslim corpers who are currently in camp to be good ambassadors of Islam, to
eschew all immoralities and to remain peaceful and law-abiding.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)