Has anyone come across the AIT Facebook page derogatory post about Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam – the religion of over 2 billion people worldwide?
At exactly 7.06pm on August 14, the ever controversial teevee station posted the picture of a supposedly SS2 students seated on bare floor while writing examination somewhere in Sokoto. Though the unscrupulous reporter insisted the photograph was taken in Sokoto state, it failed to provide the name of the school and when the picture was taken.
The reporter went further to lambast the Sultanate state and ridicule #Hajj with an uncanny comparison, saying, “the same state (Sokoto) will spend countless more money on those going to stone, climb and run round rocks in Saudi Arabia!
Subhanallah! This medium has just pronounced unmitigated blasphemous statements about Islamic religion and offended the sensibilities of millions of Nigerian Muslims with the totally uncomplimentary remarks as mere “climb(ing) and run(ing) round (mere) rocks”.
Unfortunately the Raymond Dopkesi-owned medium has refused to pull down the nauseating ‘story’ despite calls and outrage from its Muslim followers both on social media and otherwise.
To further confirm that the act was deliberately orchestrated to achieve a dastard purpose, it is interesting to note that the supposedly ‘reputable and responsible’ medium had copied the inciting post from a controversial hate blogger, #Abiyamo who had earlier posted the same image and caption at exactly 2:53pm same day.
It is also interesting to discover that, the handler of #Nairaland that featured the same post has been wise enough to have removed the blasphemous part when it reposted it yesterday (Thursday) August 17, 2017.
As if that was not enough, the same caption also called out Sokoto state for allegedly using N700 million to buy the Abuja Guest House for the Sultan of Sokoto.
The post with over a thousand comments has no doubt fuelled religious intolerance and name callings among members of different religious groups.
Hence, if truly Acting President Yemi #Osinbajo is serious about dealing decisively with hate speeches and those who make them as stated yesterday (Thursday), the starting point should be from the Nigerian media houses, including the unethical bloggers and devious social media troublemakers. They are the purveyors of provocative and inciting comments via prejudicial and subjective reportage.
If freedom becomes uncontrollable, it inevitably leads to destruction. This expression is very apt in describing the excesses of #AIT and other media houses in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that this same station had to run public apology and pay heavily via out-of-court settlement after it ran, hate, fabricated, damaging and sponsored documentary against the personality of the leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the eve of 2015 general election that eventually ushered-in President Muhammadu Buhari, who was also a victim of AIT hate campaign.
It is therefore important to call on the relevant authorities and agencies, including Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria to prevail on AIT and other online disreputable media outfits who have syndicated the inciting post to remove it outrightly and tender apologies to the Nigerian Muslims. It is equally important to take measures to avoid the future occurrence via appropriate measures.
Islam forbids Muslims from making mockery of other religions so that such mockery is not extended to the Religion of Peace. Allah warns, “And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge.” Qur’an 6: 108
– Rasheed Abubakar is a journalist and the author of “Hijab and the Nigerian Press” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org