By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, on Tuesday, criticised the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, for its outcry and claim that the recent shortlisting of 13 Muslims for 20 Justices for the Appeal Court positions was an attempt to Islamic the judiciary.
The apex Islamic body said one billion calumnies by CAN, unleashed against Muslims cannot extinguish the light of Islam in the country.
NSCIA also noted that Christianity preaches love, honesty, sincerity, tolerance, good neighbourliness and kindness, among other virtues, and therefore, CAN should desist from blackmail and bigotry.
The Council, in a statement co-signed by Prof. Salisu Shehu and Arc. Haruna Zuberu Usman-Ugwu, its Deputy Secretary-General and Ag. Director of Administration, lambasted CAN, saying that Muslims can no longer tolerate any bigoted propaganda whenever a Muslim happens to be at the helm of affairs in the country.
Against that background, it urged the Federal Government to conduct a full-scale religious census of the entire workforce of its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) with a view to revealing the states of origin and religious affiliations of the Nigerian workforce.
The NSCIA said the CAN kept mum when Christians dominated the political appointments by past governments, but was swift to claim religious marginalisation when the tides favoured the Muslims.
It said, “The attention of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has been drawn to the insinuations and vituperations that trailed the shortlisting of 20 Justices-designate by the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).
“It would be noted that except it is compelled to do so, the Council has often resisted joining issues with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) as a matter of principle.
“However, NSCIA would not allow the serial falsehood of CAN and its propensity for character assassination of people on the basis of their religious identity to stand because truth is irrefragable.
“The unassailable truth is that Justices of the Court of Appeal (JCAs) are 70 but the North with 19 States has 34 while the South with 17 States has 36.”The cacophony of Christian marginalisation that constitutes the singsong of CAN is a blatant lie, a deliberate distortion and a devilish strategy of shedding crocodile tears or crying while flogging Muslims with barefaced oppression and systemic repression in Nigeria.
“Though religion preaches love, honesty, sincerity, tolerance, good neighbourliness and kindness, among other virtues, CAN has succeeded in creating a Nigerian version of Christianity, which is anchored on morbid hatred, undisguised dishonesty, caustic insincerity, religious intolerance, perennial hostility and outright wickedness.
“If CAN has its way, it would annihilate Muslims from Nigeria but one billion CANs of calumny unleashed against us cannot extinguish the light of Islam here and elsewhere, even if they try it.”
The apex Muslim body said it was the same strategy of crying wolf by CAN that underpinned the hijab crisis in Kwara state.
It said, “It is given that the right to hijab is constitutionally guaranteed. However, to CAN, constitutionality does not matter where intolerance festers and it has resorted to toe the path of violence.
“The schools in question are public schools which are financed and administered by the state government. It is even ironical that a number of the female teachers in these schools use hijab. Would CAN also ask the state government to disengage all the ‘Hijabi teachers’ in the affected schools?
“CAN argued that the use of hijab in the affected schools will ’cause discrimination and allow terrorists to easily identify our children and wards.’ What a jaundiced argument! Assuming that was true, would the withdrawal of all the Hijabi students in the affected schools not make the children to be more easily identified?
“It, therefore, beats imagination that CAN can be so blinded by Islamophobia as to promote anarchy in the land by denying willing Muslim girls the right to hijab in state-funded schools in Ilorin of all towns, repaying the tolerance of the Muslim hosts with intolerance! Even in the West, willing school girls and professionals are accorded their rights to hijab and a Baptist College in Australia less than two years ago changed its dress code to accommodate its Hijabi student.
“However, in Nigeria, CAN leaders appear to practise a different version of Christianity and they undermine democracy by violating the lawful judgements of competent courts of law.”
Continuing, the NSCIA said: “For the purpose of hindsight, Muslims have over the years been bearing their persecution and marginalisation in Nigeria with religious patience and dignified forbearance without the NSCIA heating up the polity, occupying public spaces or inciting confrontation with constituted authorities.
“As far as those who run the affairs of CAN are concerned, Nigeria may as well descend into war since in their demonic calculations, they will dominate Muslims with the support of their foreign friends and turn Muslim lands to a vast wasteland as obtainable in some Muslim-majority countries.
“They fail to realise that the war they are intent on dragging Nigeria into ultimately does not decide who is right, but who is left and that no soldier in the real sense ever survives a war as something dies in him while fighting.
“It is in this respect that Muslims in Nigeria and the South in particular are warned to be circumspect in being dragged into the ethnic debate of some phantom states to be created out of Nigeria by some irredentist agitators.
“Behind the mask of ethnicity that the propagandists wear to deceive the unwary is a religious agenda to obliterate Muslims from the socio-political life of the entire South where hijab would be criminalised and the courts of law would be disobeyed at will by the so-called elite, as being witnessed in Kwara state.
“Muslims who listen to the deceit of ‘those-who-wish-others-evil’ or the rants of their megaphones are bound to regret if they continue to toe their divisive ethnic and religious propaganda.
“Muslim opinion leaders, especially politicians, writers and journalists, are to be wary of being subliminally drawn into what will potentially destroy them. You cannot trust those who disobey rightful court orders to guarantee your basic rights when push comes to shove!
“It is against the backdrop of the foregoing that the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) reiterates its earlier call that the Federal Government should urgently conduct a full-scale religious census of the entire workforce of its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
“The statistics would be helpful as it would reveal the states of origin and religious affiliations of the Nigerian workforce. Muslims can no longer tolerate the psychological terrorism of those whose stock-in-trade is a campaign of calumny and bigoted propaganda anytime a Muslim happens to be at the helm of affairs in Nigeria.”This is the way forward at this time as the vilification of Muslims by CAN can only be redressed by publishing the statistics and letting the world know who is marginalising who.”
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