FOR those who are linking the killings by Boko Haram to Islam, they have again been told that the violence has nothing to do with the religion, since it preaches and promotes peace.
The clarification came at the weekend from notable personalities, including the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire; Senator Ganiyu Solomon and new National President of Muslim Association of Nigeria (MAN), Alhaji S.A. Yusuf.
Others were a guest lecturer and foundation Head of Political Science and Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Science, Lagos State University (LASU), Dr. Abdulrahman Olalekan Olayiwola, and a Senior Lecturer at LASU, Dr. Isiaq Akintola.
While speaking at the 32nd Triennial National Conference of MAN, they said that violence in any form was against the teaching of Islam.
Therefore, they urged Muslim leaders and scholars to establish a centre for Islamic information dissemination to tackle cases of wrong perception of what Islam stands for and also train preachers on the true tenets of the religion.
Orelope-Adefulire, who was represented by Alhaja Folashade Serifat Jaji, said religion should continue to play the role of preaching morals, peaceful co-existence, brotherly love, tolerance, patience and endurance.
“Our religious leaders should continue to help us use the opportunities they have as respected opinion leaders and influential figures to make religion a vehicle to promote good behaviour, orderliness and also encourage our people to carry out their civic obligations and obey the laws of the land,” the deputy governor said.
Orelope-Adefulire, who commended the association for using the forum to expose Muslims to the sacred teachings of Prophet Muhammed (SAW) and the tenets of Islam among others, also said she found the theme of the conference particularly apt, timely and very thought-provoking against the backdrop of recent happenings in the country.
“There is no better time to seek a permanent solution that is divinely-inspired, well-articulated and solution-driven than now. It is heartwarming and relieving therefore to know that Islam, as a religion of peace, can provide the solution we are looking for,” she said.
She assured that as the elected representatives, the state government would continue to serve, promote and protect the interest of the people.
Yusuf and Olayiwola, in their separate addresses, said that Islam and MAN condemned religious intolerance, insisting that the violence had nothing to do with the religion and that violence in any form was against the teaching of Islam.
The guest lecturer, who is also a British councillor, lawyer and solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales, said Boko Haram militancy was one of the problems of violence, general insecurity and national disintegration, including cases of armed robbery, kidnapping, ethnic, political and social problems that Nigeria was going through.
He particularly counselled Muslim leaders to establish a centre for Islamic information dissemination to redress cases of wrong perception of what Islam stands for and also train preachers on the true tenets of the religion, adding that the Federal Ministry of Information should assist in funding the centre.
“Boko Haram is not fighting for Islam. God does not ask anybody to use force to preach in any religion, including Islam, Christianity and African traditional religion. Therefore, Boko Haram is not fighting for Islam.
“The Holy Qur’an Chapter 16 verse 125 says, ‘invite all in the way of the lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them ways that are best and most gracious….’ Violence in the name of religion is tantamount to violating their freedom of worship, freedom of association, freedom of belief and freedom of religion. It is wrong for anybody to claim he is fighting for a religion. God does not encourage people to fight for any religion. Therefore, Boko Haram is not fighting for Islam,” he said.