Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
An Islamic scholar, Imam Tijani Dawud Igiogun, has called on religious leaders to begin campaign against terrorist groups who claim to be fighting to expand the frontiers of Islam in the country.
The cleric made the call while delivering a lecture on ‘Terrorism and Islamophobia’ at the sixth Ramadan lecture organised by the Nigerian Union of Journalist, Osun State Council, at the press centre in Osogbo.
Igiogun stressed the need for more prominent Islamic leaders and clerics in Nigeria to publicly denounce Boko Haram and other terrorist groups.
Quoting from Qur’an (60:8), which says Islam is a religion of mercy that does not permit terrorism, he noted that “God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your home. God loves dealers.”
Igiogun added that Muslims are commanded to take lives of animals for food in a manner that causes the least amount of fright and suffering to know how Islam values life let alone that of human beings.
He cautioned media practitioners to be careful while reporting religion-related issues and sensitizing the populace of other’s religious doctrines.
Igiogun charged all Muslims to emphasise that Islam is a religion of peace that upholds love among their neighbours, peaceful coexistence and sanctity of human life.
He called on the government to address issues of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, marginalisation, exploitation among others, stressing that if decent jobs were handy, disgruntled citizens who end up as terrorists may have a rethink.
According to him, “Islamic religion clerics should not get weary in tactfully trumpeting splendid Islamic values, love, justice, forgiveness peace, pacifism and sanctity of human life with compelling hermeneutic.
“These terrorists who claim to be Muslims have not in any way spared their Muslim ‘brothers’ in their attacks as often noticed. They as well as non-Muslims have been victims of violence and terrorism.
“There is no gainsaying that religious conflicts have plagued Nigeria more than any other kind of conflict in its history as a country. Therefore, if there must be relative peace in the country then religion must play an indispensable role for peace to be attained.”
Earlier, Chairman of the state NUJ Council, Kehinde Ayantunji, appreciated members of the union and other invited guests who deemed it necessary to attend the lecture.
Ayantunji urged the members of the union, especially Muslims to use the holy month of Ramadan to pray to God to restore peace to the northern parts of the country currently security challenges.