OPPOSITION TO SUKUK: CAN IS PLAYING ‘DOG
IN THE MANGER’
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) issued a press
statement yesterday to protest against the Federal Government’s first ever sukuk
(noninterest lease assets facilities) which was announced last week. The
statement which was dated 19th September, 2017 was signed by CAN’s
General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Musa Asake.
Rights Concern (MURIC) considers CAN’s position demeaning. It is not only
infantile, petty and overbearing but also spiteful and egocentric.
Our position is based on the fact that CAN has all it needs
in Nigeria today because the whole system is Christo-Western: education, the
judicial system, the economy, everything. Muslims who were deprived of all
their Islamic landmarks and ways of life by the colonialists are constrained to
start the struggle all over again by demanding Shari’ah, use of hijab in
schools, Islamic banks, sukuk, etc. It must be made clear ab initio
that Nigerian Muslims had all these before the advent of the British
colonialists who changed everything in favour of Christianity.
There is nothing the Muslims are demanding now that the
Christians don’t have already on a platter of gold. It must also be stated that
the Christians do not need the things that the Muslims are asking for. Why
should somebody keep blocking his brother from getting his own share when he
already has his own?
The fable of the
dog in the manger is quite didactic in this regard. A British dog in the 13th
century was fed with meat until its belly was full. Then the owner took hay
(dry grass which only the horse needed and it is useless to the dog) and gave
it to the horse. The dog had eaten and it was now the horse’s turn. Surprisingly,
the dog started barking. It jumped on the hay and kept the horse at bay.
‘Dog in the manger’ has since become an English idiom. We
must now ask CAN why it is playing dog in the manger. Shari‘ah is not for them
but CAN screamed until the roofs nearly came down. OIC does not hurt any
Christian but CAN shouted to high heavens. Hijab is for female Muslims alone
but violent envy pushed CAN to shout itself hoarse. Islamic bank is for Muslims
alone but CAN labeled it Islamisation of Nigeria. Can CAN give us a list of
those who have been Islamised since Islamic banking started in the country? CAN
leadership has become a professional false alarmist, a dog in the manger.
To reject the existence of sukuk pari passu
with Islamic banking is like demanding that the agricultural sector should
operate without bringing harvests to the markets or that hospitals should exist
without pharmacies and laboratories. Having fought rigorously and bitterly
against the establishment of the Islamic bank in Nigeria without success, our
Christian neighbours seek to strangulate Islamic banks in the country.
We are constrained to ask, “How Christian is the Christian
Association of Nigeria?” Every good Christian wants to be like Jesus and he
turns this idea of emulating Jesus to a song. We have no doubt that CAN leaders
also sing the song. But how sincere are they about emulating Jesus? Jesus says,
“Love your neighbour according to thy self” (Mark 12:31) but CAN leaders do the
There are lots of good Christians in Nigeria and we
interact very well but why must the petty ones always lead them? They are a belligerent
lot, warlike and aggressive. Have they ever seen Muslims opposing a benefit
going to Christians? We did not protest when you started going to Jerusalem
even though we know that it is not mandatory for Christians. You enjoy Western
banking system, Western education, common law, etc without any protest from us.
Why is it that CAN always cries foul each time we seek parity?
CAN’s claim that
sukuk is unconstitutional is false, baseless and misleading. How can laws made
by the Federal Government be ultra vires? CAN is misleading Nigerian
Christians. CAN should know what to do if it is unconstitutional. We challenge
CAN to go to court today. It should not wait till tomorrow.
This was how CAN deceived Nigerians in 1999 when it said
Shariah was unconstitutional and MURIC challenged it to go to court. They went
to court of course but they beat a quick retreat. They withdrew the case when
they found out the truth. But why heat up the polity all the time when you have
the means of finding out the true status of sukuk? CAN likes making
noise and we are enjoying our garrulous neighbour.
CAN calls sukuk a sectional religious financial
policy but it forgets that the stock exchange has hitherto been monopolized by
Christian-oriented bonds for decades and the Muslims did not complain for once.
CAN loves to permanently marginalize Nigerian Muslims yet it is CAN that shouts
If it is true that sukuk implies Islamisation, then
the stock exchange is imperialistic Christianisation. But almost the whole of
Europe has embraced the sukuk industry. This includes France, Germany,
Italy, Ireland, Luxemburg and Britain. Paris EUROPLACE established sukuk as
far back as 2007 and France has since established the Islamic Finance
Commission. Germany issued its first sukuk in 2004. That was 13 years
ago. Ireland’s sukuk assets amounted to 180 trillion euros by 2010. Luxemburg
started using sukuk in 2002. Britain has been using Islamic banking
since the 1990s and the Sanctuary Building Sukuk was launched in 2005. The
United States Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recognized the ijarah
and mubarahah more than 30 years ago! But has America been Islamised? According
to Bloomberg LP, KFH Research, the global sukuk issuance as at 31st
December 2013 was $135 billion but grew rapidly to $2.004 trillion by 2016.
verifiable facts if CAN would eschew its armchair leadership style. Even Google
alone is enough but CAN leadership will not search. They are just interested in
rabble-rousing and cantankerous razz-mataz.
CAN should seek education. The Bible says “My people perish for lack of
knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). CAN should stop misleading Nigerians and inciting
Christians against their Muslim neighbours.
MURIC calls on Nigerian Christians to either ignore CAN or
find out the truth by themselves each time CAN cries wolf. Afterall the Bible
asks Christians to “Investigate everything but hold onto that which is the
truth” (I Thessalonians 5:21). Don’t allow anybody to push you into violent
behavior. Don’t allow anyone to make you hate your Muslim neighbour.
Let us eschew primordial sentiments. Sukuk is purely
business. We advise Christians to take their destiny in their own hands instead
of allowing warlike leaders to lead them into unnecessary confrontation with
Muslims every time. We invite CAN leaders to eschew bitterness. We should be
partners in lending the voice of reason to the national debate instead of
constituting clerical nuisance to the Nigerian nation.
Before we round up, we advise CAN leadership to desist from
giving religion a bad name. The word ‘religion’ is from the Latin word
‘religio’ meaning ‘to link’, ‘to tie’ or ‘to bind’. Therefore religion is about
linking people together in love and sharing. It is not about dividing them. Religion
is about love, forgiveness, tolerance, giving and taking. Let us be good
examples for the young generation. Our constant bickering has led to too many
religious crises. It has pushed our followers to the precipice of war and
instigated them against one another. Why must we live together like two envious
wives of the same husband when we should see ourselves as two sons of the same
father? This is the etymological essence of religion.
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)