Islamic human rights group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has warned the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) to mind its own business. This followed a warning issued by the PFN on Thursday, 27th May, 2021 against any move by any group to introduce Sharia law to the South-West zone of the country through the ongoing constitutional review being carried out by the Senate. MURIC’s reaction came via a statement issued by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Saturday, 29th May 2021.
According to MURIC, “Our Christian neighbours have come again. They are always the ones who fire the first shot. They are always heating up the polity. The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) warned on Thursday, 27th May, 2021 against any move by any group to introduce Shariah law to the South-West zone of the country through the ongoing constitutional review being carried out by the Senate.
“This is a well-known pattern. Our Christian neighbours know very well that Shariah is the Allah-given fundamental human right of Muslims. But they are determined to deprive us of it using unorthodox methods. They believe they are at war with Muslims and to them, everything is fair in war. They are using both fair and foul means to achieve their objective
“It is the gospel according to Niccolo Machiavelli : the end justifies the means, no matter what they do to achieve it. Like the German Otto Von Bismarck, they do not just wait to strike when the iron is hot, our Christian neighbours believe in striking to make the cold iron hot. This is why they heat up the polity all year round.
“PFN and other Christian groups are fully aware that Shariah was in the South West decades before the arrival of Christianity in 1842. Shariah was practiced in Ede under Oba Abibu Olagunju (Habeeb, a Muslim name) and the Ede Shariah Court operated up till 1913 at Agbeni area of the town. It was moved to Agbongbon area in 1914. Shariah was applied in Iwo under Oba Momodu Lamuye (Muhammad Lamuye) who died in 1906. Even the seventh Akirun of Ikirun, Oba Aliyu Oyewole (died 1912), instituted Shariah in Ikirun in 1910. These are just examples of the existence and spread of Shariah in Yorubaland and the Christian leaders are not oblivious of the fact that it was the British Christian colonialists who stopped Shariah in Yorubaland and imposed Christian common law.
“However, they are equally aware of the rising tide of Islamic awareness in the same South West. They have seen the hitherto passive Muslim community being transformed into an active, articulate and politically conscious populace. They are afraid that the sleeping giant is waking up to take back what belongs to it.
“We call on Nigerians to understand the siege mentality of our Christian neighbours. Like all aggressors, they believe that attack is the best form of defence. As the benefactors and inheritors of colonial rampage that lasted more than a century, they are determined to keep all the loot which their principal bequeathed to them. They are determined to keep the Muslims in a concentration camp into which the colonial masters drove them.
“They have forgotten that the only thing that is constant in life is change. We are worried about the voyeuristic disorder which has again manifested in the PFN. It is a Peeping Tom syndrome that propels our Christian neighbours to crane their necks in order to see what is in the pot of soup of the Muslims. It is called ‘giraffing’ in examination hall parlance.
“The Constitution Review Panel asked Nigerians to forward their views regarding what they want in the constitution. Each group is supposed to submit its needs. But instead of telling the panel what the Christians want, PFN has gone ahead to say what they do not want Muslims to ask for. It is an attempt to gag Muslims in the South West and it will not work.
“The issue is what do the Christians want? It is clear that they have been overpampered by the colonial master who handed over our common patrimony to them on a platter of gold. So now they want nothing because they already have all they need. But they want to sustain the status quo because it favours them.
“Decorum, courtesy and protocol demand that Christians should ask for what they lack and what they want. But instead of doing that they are asking the committee not to tolerate the demands of Muslims. Yet Christians already have their own common law and the shariah has nothing to do with them. It is Muslims who need Shariah.
“This attitude can be compared to that of the dog in the manger whose master gave it its own meat and bone. The dog ate and was filled up. But when the master gave hay to the horse, the dog came barking ferociously in order to prevent the horse from accessing the grass. But do dogs eat grass? How uncharitable can our neighbours be?
“MURIC warns the PFN and its co-travellers to steer clear of the path of Muslims in the South West. The demand for Shariah is a civil rights matter. It is a demand for change, a demand for the status quo ante. Britain compelled the whole South West to don the toga of Christian ways of life and agents of neo-imperialism are pushing this diabolical scheme. It will not work. We say capital ‘NO’ to neo-colonialism, neo-imperialism and modern slavery.
“We are being deceived daily by those who claim that there is religious tolerance in the South West. Why is the Muslim girl child in hijab always targeted for persecution if it is true that there is religious tolerance in the South West? Why are Muslims always marginalised in political appointments if there is tolerance in Yorubaland? Why is the South West civil service totally dominated by Christians? Why is the ministry of education in particular and the teaching service authorities in the hands of Christians in all Yoruba states? The claim of religious tolerance is a sham, a phantom. It is a mantra designed to keep Yoruba Muslims in perpetual slavery.
“Muslims in the region are waking up and asking for freedom. We demand a halt to the forceful use of Christian school uniform, Christian education, Christian law, etc. We demand civil Shariah, not criminal Shariah that involves the cutting of hands but civil Shariah to regulate Muslim marriages, inheritance, family affairs, etc. It has nothing to do with Christians. We will use every peaceful and constitutional means available to attain this objective. We declare a caveat emptor in Shariah-related matters. PFN should mind its own business. No retreat, no surrender.