The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has advised the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to always tread the pact of truthfulness, honour and tolerance even as it strives to achieve its mandate of protecting the interest of its members.
The admonition was contained in its response to claims by the Christian Association of Nigeria on the issuance of Sukuk bond by the federal government.
CAN had described the issuance of the bond as an attempt to ‘Islamise Nigeria and sell the nation to Arab nations’.
In statement by the Deputy Secretary General of the Council, Salisu Shehu, said “We are poised to advise CAN to, in the spirit of Biblical injunctions, uphold the truth for its sake and tread the path of honour and refrain from statements capable of causing disaffection and promoting disharmony that may lead to conflict in the country.”
The umbrella Islamic body said Islamic Banking and its products, part of which is Sukuk have been prevalent worldwide and wondered why CAN decides to feign ignorance about the globally acceptable phenomenon.
“CAN cannot claim ignorance about the fact that even the World Bank has been involved in issuing Sukuk and the floating of Sukuk Bonds. Interestingly also, several non-Muslim countries across Africa, Europe and Asia have similarly instituted Islamic Financial System generally and Sukuk in particular. Worthy of mention here are Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Russia, China, Singapore and a number of firms in the United States.
“Less than two years ago, Britain hosted a World Conference on Islamic Banking and Finance and David Cameron, the then British prime minister, openly declared that their intention was to make UK the hub of Islamic Finance in the World.
“It would certainly be embarrassing for CAN to be told that the first and foremost state in Nigeria to submit application for loan to the Islamic Development Bank is a Christian-dominated state in the South-East.”
NSCIA reminds CAN of Muslims magnanimity
The statement which reminded CAN of Muslims uncommon tolerance for massive Christianisation of the polity, also reminded the Christian body that what had kept Nigeria together is the culture of mutual understanding, tolerance, and by extension, the spirit and principle of give and take; it thus warned it to refrain from tilting the balance by unnecessarily rocking the nation’s boat.
“This has been the factor that made Muslims to tolerate several practices or things that are essentially Christian in nature and outlook, in substance and form and indeed in principle and practice, but imposed on us,”
“We have not been talking of Christianization because Sunday has been forced on us as a work-free day, or the Cross as our hospital sign and symbol, our membership of the International Red Cross, and many other things including almost all the titles of the heads of academic institutions (Chancellor, Provost, Dean, Rector, etc.).
“Despite this remarkable tolerance from Muslims over the years, CAN appears to be increasingly becoming Islamophobic and paranoid about its hate and intolerance of Islam, casting aspersions, unnecessarily overheating the polity and unjustifiably creating fear and distrust in the minds of peace-loving citizens of our great country.
NSCIA tasks Imams on tolerance
The NSCIA therefore implored all Imams to, as a matter of responsibility, use their sermons to further remind the Muslims about the Islamic teachings of patience, pardon and forgiveness in the face of provocation or aggression.
“Our Imams should tell our Muslim brothers and sisters that they should not in any way try to retaliate the unwarranted attacks and killings of Muslims in the South-East on innocent Igbo citizens within their localities or neighbourhoods with whom they are living peacefully and harmoniously,” the NSCIA said.
“That is the injunction of the Qur’an and must be complied with. Allah says in the Qur’an, chapter 60, verse 8 that:
”Allah does not forbid you to be kind and just to those who did not fight against you on account of religion, nor drove you out of your homes. Surely Allah loves those who are equitable.”