I write this open letter to you (Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria leadership) as a devoted muslim to express my deepest concern about the regular divisive and inflammatory activities of a said muslim organization popularly known as Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) led by Prof. Ishaq Akintola in South – Western Nigeria.
Foremost, I must draw your attention to the monumental havoc recorded due to religious bigotry in Nigeria. The Maitatsine movement religious violence in some Northern states around 1980s, the muslims and christians’ riot in Kaduna in 2000, the 2001 crisis in Kano and Jos, the 2002 religious mayhem in Abia State, the 2004 Adamawa crisis and the 2009 Bauchi violence, among others, claimed thousands of lives and property.
Religious bigotry has been a longstanding menace to social stability and communal cohesion in some sections of Nigeria. The intolerance stemmed from unconscious misinterpretation and fanatical adherence to religious principles. Religious bigotry is usually laced with political undertones in the contemporary times. The ember of this disharmony is fanned to actualize some political goals across the country.
The South West has a rich history of religious harmony and social stability. Virtually, every religious leader has embraced and maintained this heritage through religious teachings and exemplary character to their followers despite some irreconcilable tenets in each religious activity. The myriad beliefs were being managed in the region until the formation of MURIC.
MURIC is on the verge of throwing the cordial relationship and mutual respect existing among religious adherents in the South West into the dusbin of history. It has continued to label the non – muslims all sorts of derogatory appellations and raises false alarms likely to cause religious tension.
The motive behind MURIC establishment transcends this peripheral outlook. MURIC resembles a product of political calculation configured to achieve future political goals. A movement targeted at dividing the South Western people along religious lines for political agenda.
I sincerely hope my observations are treated with urgency to avert the ticking time bomb of terrorism and religious crisis in the South West. The genesis of Boko Haram insurgency in the North West still lingers in my heart.
Binzak Azeez, Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife