Daily Trust

This ‘retraction’ is not enough

- Aisha Umar Yusuf aishasanda­013@gmail.com

The initial title of today’s piece was to be: “No, this isn’t Islam” and was meant to be a response to the so-called ‘cleric’ who said the First Lady could justifiabl­y be killed because she was a Christian and a pastor.

Many Muslim organisati­ons, in this country, have risen to condemn his utterances and say they have no basis in Islam.

I would have had to rehash what they said, because we are all talking from the same source; the fact that Islam does not condone the killing of an innocent soul, whatever religion he/she practices.

And even if a person does something that caused him to deserve capital punishment, the right people in authority are the ones to execute him, not any random person with a weapon.

In a nutshell, there is no place for extrajudic­ial killing or jungle justice in Islam. But just before I touched my keyboard, I stumbled on the latest regarding the strange man and was forced to change my focus, as well as the title of the piece. Apparently, the offending cleric, identified as Sanusi Abubakar, had been traced. In response to MURIC’s reaction to his viral video, he had issued a recorded retraction of his ridiculous but bloodthirs­ty ruling.

Of course, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) deserves full credit for the ability to identify the man, locate him and get him to accept his misdeeds and retract that dangerous statement.

In a press release by the organisati­on last Friday, which was titled:

“Arrant nonsense: MURIC replies man who said Remi Tinubu should be killed”

MURIC stated that:

“In a video that went viral today, a man who dressed like an Islamic scholar was seen calling for the killing of Nigeria’s First Lady and wife of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on the basis of her being a Christian and a pastor.

We hereby declare the video clip as arrant nonsense, arbitrary, absurd and a product of misguidanc­e, misinforma­tion and maradonise­d religiosit­y. It is saddening, most unfortunat­e. It is not impossible that this is a product of political machinatio­n with malicious intent to cause mayhem.

“He is definitely not an Islamic scholar. His spoken words indicate that he knows next to nothing about Islam. We are constraine­d to write him off as a mere rabble-rouser. He is either an agent of those whose sole aim is to destabilis­e the country, an attention-seeker or an eminently qualified tenant for a psychiatri­c home.

“This man’s teachings are misleading, his claims are false, while his identity is spurious and ambiguous. He is not known as an Islamic scholar. We, therefore, appeal to the First Family and the rest of Nigerians to ignore him while Muslim leaders in the North should try to identify him with a view to guiding him properly.

“All efforts made by MURIC to identify the man failed so far because he is neither popular nor is he a known Islamic scholar...”

However, the MURIC search yielded result and a man called Sanusi Abubakar presented himself to the Sokoto branch of the group and identified himself as the ‘cleric’ in the offensive video.

MURIC then did another press release, yesterday, announcing that the man had been found and had presented another video in which he retracted all he said earlier.

According to the press release:

“A man who said President Tinubu’s wife, Remi Tinubu, should be killed, has reached out to the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) and retracted his words. The man, identified as Sanusi Abubakar, who was pretending to be an Islamic scholar, has reached out to MURIC, withdrawin­g his wild, thoughtles­s, provocativ­e, reckless and misguided call for the killing of Senator Remi Tinubu, wife of the Nigerian president ....

In 2 minutes, 24 seconds video clip sent to the Sokoto Chapter of MURIC on Monday, 26th February, 2024, Sanusi Abubakar completely and entirely retracted his offensive statements which were capable of breeding mayhem ....

“The man further admitted that his claims were unislamic and without any basis in Islam. He claimed to have been driven by political considerat­ions, and had made the wild statement during the 2023 presidenti­al campaign .....

“However, MURIC notes with delight how the Sokoto man admitted his wrongdoing in remorse and regret. It takes a considerab­le courage and sincere intention for a man to admit his mistakes and pronounce his remorse. We hope Nigerians and the First Family will accept his apology ......

Lastly, MURIC warns other politicall­y inclined clerics to desist from further heating the polity. We charge the security agencies to spare no effort in identifyin­g, tracking and neutralisi­ng the threats posed by such deeply partisan and unpatrioti­c religious fanatics, sponsored by some self-seeking, desperate, reckless and unpatrioti­c politician­s whose sole objective is to grab power at all costs.”

Obviously, this effort by MURIC is highly commendabl­e but it cannot end the matter as far as Sanusi’s retraction is concerned.

This fake cleric or ignorant preacher has to be penalised in some way to deter others from copying him and to prevent him from ever climbing a pulpit to defame Islam again.

The way I see it, his faults are basically three.

Number one, he told a lie against Islam because there is no Islamic injunction that says non-Muslims should be killed for just being non-Muslims. And even when there is a just cause, it’s only after a due process of law has found him/her guilty and deserving of the death penalty.

Number two, he impersonat­ed an Islamic scholar, since by his own admission, he was not a real Muslim cleric.

Number three, he incited some people against others for purely political reasons, not minding the fact that there are people gullible enough, among his listeners to literally act on his words.

For these reasons, the Sokoto State council of ulama must take punitive actions against him.

He must be banned from preaching anywhere, until he can present a certificat­e of proper Islamic training and scholarshi­p, which will prove that he is knowledgea­ble enough to preach.

Sanusi Abubakar must also share his video of retraction far and wide, so that all those who have heard his infamous speech since last year, will know that he lied against Islam and was not qualified to preach the dos and don’ts of the religion.

This will also enable them to know that, it was a politicall­y-motivated ruling, not one grounded in religion or our criminal justice system.

Until this is done, Sanusi’s retraction and subsequent disappeara­nce back to wherever he came from, cannot guarantee that his fake preaching business won’t recur.

The way I see it, his faults are basically three. Number one, he told a lie against Islam because there is no Islamic injunction that says non-Muslims should be killed for just being nonMuslims. And even when there is a just cause, it’s only after a due process of law has found him/her guilty and deserving of the death penalty

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