ISLAMIC body Muslim Rights Concern (Muric) has called on Nigerian Muslims across to help in protecting Christians against the recent threat by the new Boko Haram leader Sheikh Abu Musab Al- Barnawi that Christians and churches he plans to attack.
Last week, global; terrorist network Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) announced that it was recognising Sheikh al-Barnawi as Boko Haram’s new leader. He immediately issued a statement saying he will renew the war against Christianity in Nigeria, threatening to attack churches and adherents of the Christian faith.
Traditionally, Boko Haram has carried out brutal bombing attacks against churches in northern Nigeria, killing hundreds as they worship. Last week, Sheikh Al- Barnawi promised to continue this, threatening that Boko Haram under his reign will raze down churches and kill Christians.
Muric director Alhaji Ishaq Akintola, described Sheikh Al- Barnawi’s threat as despicable, stressing that the call came from a twisted mind. While emphasising on the country’s unity, Alhaji Akintola urged Muslims to demonstrate solidarity with their Christian neighbours by ensuring that Boko Haram elements are not allowed to launch attacks on Christians in their neighbourhood.
Alhaji Akintola said: “The new leader of Boko Haram insurgents, Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi, has called for the killing of Christians and the blowing up of churches. The Muslim Rights Concern expresses total bewilderment at the depth of barbarism in the recent hate speech emanating from the leadership of Boko Haram.
“It is totally despicable and exceptionally criminal to target fellow products of the Adamic chromosome for annihilation and we have no doubt that this call could only have come from a twisted mind. Islam is love, not hatred. Islam gives life, not death. It builds and does not destroy and the Glorious Qur’an only allows Muslims to fight in self-defence (Qur’an 2:190).”
He added that Islam forbids unjust and unlawful killing (Qur’an 6:151) and compares anyone who kills his fellow man to one who kills all homo sapiens (Qur’an 5:32). Alhaji Akintola reminded the Boko Haram coercion ideologues of the moderate posture of the Glorious Qur’an towards non-Muslims adding that Qur’an 2:256 says there should be no compulsion in religion.
“Our differences in matters of faith are therefore part of the deliberate and grand design of the Divine Creator. Allah also affirms in Qur’an 11:118 that there would still have been differences even if the whole world follows a single religion, so what is special about belonging to a particular religion if we do not share love?
“Finally, we urge Muslims in the country to demonstrate solidarity with their Christian neighbours by ensuring that Boko Haram elements are not allowed to launch attacks on Christians in their neighbourhood. We have a duty to defend our Christian neighbours at this critical stage, which is the way to keep Nigeria united,” Alhaji Akintola added.