John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) headed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has condemned what it described as the “horrific and dastardly attacks on Christian worshipers” on Easter Sunday, in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
In a statement yesterday in Kaduna, the Islamic body said the attack which led to the death of many people was the most reprehensible, barbaric, callous and inhuman act.
The statement signed by the Deputy Secretary General of NSCIA, Prof. Salisu Shehu, called on the Sri Lankan authorities to ensure that all hands are on deck to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“That about 300 people were gruesomely killed with more than 500 others, sustaining various degrees of injury is an affront against civilisation and a crime against humanity.
“There is no moral, religious or political justification for such an outrage on the global psyche.
“Therefore, all hands must be on deck to ensure that the perpetrators, whoever they are, are severely punished by the Sri Lankan authorities.
“It is a sad commentary on the state of the world that at a time everyone is recovering from the severe shock precipitated by the attacks on Muslims in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15, 2019, these gruesome attacks borne out of extreme hatred and religious bigotry happened in Sri Lanka, a country that has witnessed some stability after the end of its civil war some years ago.
“The NSCIA condemns and denounces the attacks in the strongest terms. The council also commiserates with the families of the victims in Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, India, Denmark, Spain, Australia, United States, Switzerland, China, the Netherlands, Japan, Portugal and other countries whose nationals were involved in the ghastly bombings” the statement said.
The council maintained that “terrorists are terrorists and criminals are criminals, regardless of their race or the religions they claim to profess.”
It noted that though all religions ordinarily abhor violence and promote goodness, “Islam especially, considers killing as a major sin.”
“It considers the sanctity of human life inviolable. In Quran 5, verse 32, it is stated, “whoever kills an innocent person, it is as if he has killed the whole of humanity.
“For anyone who claims to be a Muslim to be involved in murder and terrorism itself is an index of the person’s renunciation of Islam.
There is nothing inherently violent in Islam contrary to the claims of some world leaders, the statement said.
NSCIA also condemned the tragic loss of lives in Gombe, where an official of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) rammed his car into a procession by the Boys Brigade on Monday, killing 10 people and injuring 30 others.
The Islamic body said it is very unfortunate that Nigeria has to record this ugly incident, stressing that, whatever the case was, the losses are regrettable.
“The rising waves of attacks in Nigeria against fellow Nigerians on ethnic and religious grounds call for the collective reflection and of all citizens.
“Nigerians at this time, more than any time before, need to shun the vestiges of ethnicity and religious intolerance that underline much of our sociopolitical dynamics.
“As a religious nation, with the majority of us being Muslim or Christian, the two faiths of whom are rooted in Ibrahim/Abraham, there are sufficient grounds for mutual cooperation and confidence, rather than a mindset of confrontation and competition.
As it is in the world, and as epitomised by the tragedies of Colombo, Gombe and many other places within and outside Nigeria, there is too much bloodshed borne out of intolerance and mistrust.
“The problem itself is not the problem but the way we see it. This is why all Muslims and Christians have to rediscover their religions and appreciate that all our problems can be solved in the spirit of the last sermon of Prophet Muhammad, that all humanity is from Adam and Eve and no one is superior to the other except by righteousness, and the sermon on the Mount, that people should love and not judge others.
As we grieve on these tragedies, including the recurrent incidents of deadly banditry in Zamfara State on which we had previously tasked the federal government to act decisively, we urge Nigerians to work and pray for peace in the land and in the world.
“We appeal to the religious leaders in the country to use their members, pulpits and podiums to preach peace, enjoin goodness, promotes righteousness, advance national unity and not otherwise” the statement said.