Nige­ri­ans are spir­i­tu­ally ar­ro­gant- Mus­lim del­e­gate

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Nu­rud­deen M. Ab­dal­lah

God pro­tects com­mu­ni­ties that stand for jus­tice even if they are not Mus­lims and won’t pro­tect those that don’t stand for jus­tice even if they called them­selves Mus­lims, a Mus­lim del­e­gate at the con­fer­ence has said.

Nu­rud­deen Lemu is a del­e­gate un­der the plat­form of the Supreme Coun­cil for Is­lamic Af­fairs (SCIA) at the Na­tional Con­fer­ence.

When he spoke for three min­utes yes­ter­day at the ple­nary on in­ter­faith har­mony, most del­e­gates ir­re­spec­tive of their re­li­gious lean­ings gave him a stand­ing ova­tion, though it is a breach of the Con­fer­ence Stand­ing Rules.

Re­li­gious is­sues were brought to front burner last week with some horse trad­ing among cler­ics. But yes­ter­day, Lemu sound logic and elo­quence to deliver a mes­sage that touched the need for re­li­gious har­mony in Nigeria.

In an emo­tion-laden voice, the del­e­gate al­most drew tears in the hall when he con­demned both the mur­der and mur­der­ers of Chris­tians and Mus­lims in the coun­try un­der the cover of re­li­gion.

“As a del­e­gate and as a people rep­re­sent­ing people of faith in God from Is­lamic per­spec­tive, one thing we be­lieve is that God will pro­tect the com­mu­nity that stands for jus­tice even if they are not Mus­lims and God will not pro­tect the com­mu­nity that goes con­trary to jus­tice even if they call them­selves Mus­lims.

“God is not a re­li­gious bigot. He is not a male chau­vin­ist. He is not an ethno-cen­tric trib­al­ist. God is not the op­pres­sor of any­one. God is with those who care, those who want for oth­ers those things they want for them­selves,” he said.

He added that “one ten­dency for people who claim to fol­low a re­li­gion is to slide into the po­si­tion of be­liev­ing that they are bet­ter than the oth­ers. We over-es­ti­mate our virtues and un­der-es­ti­mate the good­ness in oth­ers.

“The ten­dency is for us to be spir­i­tu­ally ar­ro­gant and for­get that oth­ers are people like us. And if you are in other per­son’s po­si­tion, you prob­a­bly will be like some­one else.

“As del­e­gates from the Supreme Coun­cil of Is­lamic Af­fairs, we con­demn the mur­der and the mur­der­ers of all Chris­tians; we con­demn the mur­der and the mur­der­ers of all Mus­lims; not be­cause they are Chris­tians or Mus­lims but be­cause they are all hu­man be­ings—crea­tures of God,” he said.

Lemu added that: “There is no com­pul­sion in re­li­gion. We all own Nigeria. We all be­long here. And we all have rights to self de­ter­mi­na­tion. We should re­spect that right and do onto oth­ers what we will do onto our­selves.”

On set­tler-in­di­gene and ma­jor­ity-mi­nor­ity is­sue that has been re­gur­gi­tated by some del­e­gates, the cleric said thus: “Ev­ery eth­nic group is an op­pressed mi­nor­ity some­where. Ev­ery ma­jor­ity or set­tlers is an in­di­gene some­where. In one way or the other, we are all set­tlers.

“We just don’t re­mem­ber where we came from and why we came. But ul­ti­mately, we are all vis­i­tors to this planet; from God we came and to Him we will re­turn.”

“As Mus­lim del­e­gates, we come against the ex­ploita­tion of re­li­gion and re­li­gious sen­ti­ments; we come against stereo­typ­ing, stig­ma­tiz­ing and de­hu­man­iza­tion of each other. We come against the use of re­li­gion as a po­lit­i­cal de­coy and dis­trac­tion from the crit­i­cal things that be­devil our na­tion.”

PHOTO: IKECHUKWU IBE PIC: IKECHUKWU IBE

Mrs Josephine Anenih (left) with for­mer Min­is­ter of State for De­fence, Erelu Obada, at the con­fer­ence yes­ter­day.

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