The Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) condemns the threat made by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the umbrella body of armed groups in Niger Delta, that it would launch a new terror campaign “in defence of Christianity”.
The MEND spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, issued the threat in an e-mail on Sunday 14th April, 2013 that the terror group will commence “the bombings of mosques, hajj camps, Islamic institutions, large congregations in Islamic events and” that “assassinations of clerics that propagate doctrines of hate will form the core mission of this crusade”.
Not only does MEND’s statements fail to represent the sentiments of most Christians around the country, they are reprehensible in their attempt to deny history of the most tragic occurrences which have claimed more Muslim lives, mischaracterized the name and message of Islam, and threatened the very existence of the whole country.
MEND’s statements are not only reprehensible, they are also baseless. The MPAC therefore calls on the Christian leaders to unequivocally reject the threat of a new crusade against the Muslims.
MEND surely has the reputation and means to carry out the threatened terrorist attacks and due to this fact, MPAC calls on the Nigerian government to take the threat seriously, to publicly condemn it and make tangible efforts to protect Muslims and their places of worship across the country.
No one should justify MEND’s hate-filled rhetoric and threat of terrorism as a way of scoring cheap, yet dangerous points in the mistaken belief that they will be retaliating against the misguided actions of the Boko Haram.
As MPAC has stated in at least ten previous press releases responding to the Boko Haram activities, the Boko Haram distorts core Islamic concepts – such as jihad and right to self-defense – and they wear the religious cloak only to promote their nefarious and violent activities.
The world view and position on the rights of Christians as equal citizens who are entitled to practice their religion in Nigeria is completely ignored by the Boko Haram and they misrepresent not only the teachings but the clear example set by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
Most importantly, Nigerian Muslim leaders and the entire Nigerian Muslim community have resoundingly rejected Boko Haram and what they stand for- a courageous stance that, tragically, has claimed the lives of many outspoken Muslim critics (religious, political and community leaders) of the hate cultists. Their message of hate and widespread destruction, similar to those of MEND, only exploit the vacuum of God fearing, courageous and responsive Nigerian political leadership and attempt to capitalize on genuine issues/grievances that the country face.
MPAC reiterates that Islam does not tolerate the use of terrorism for any purpose, regardless of the identity of the aggressors or the nature of their motives. Islam teaches the sanctity of all human lives- Muslim, Christian, Atheist, idol-worshipers, et al. Islam enjoins its adherents to engage with wider society with best speech, sublime values, and morals of Islam.
Islam considers the use of terrorism to be unacceptable for any purpose and MPAC confirms its denunciation of all acts of violence committed, threatened or spoken. While Muslim leaders and scholars of all schools of thought continue to reinforce and amplify a united voice to counteract Boko Haram’s destructive force, the government of President Goodluck Jonathan must initiate political, economic and social reforms that will address the grievances of the people and isolate the extremists in all the regions of the country.
The array of political incompetencies that have been seen in the country represents a clear regression in the advancement of Nigerian political maturity and is a surest source of ongoing threat to the security, peace and dignity of the Nigerian people.
Muslim Public Affairs Centre, MPAC
e-mails: [email protected], [email protected]