Haram is not Islam. They have nothing to do with Islam and must be
dissociated with Islam.” This is the viewpoint of Sheikh
Abdulrahman Ahmad – Nigeria’s Muslim cleric as he led a symbolic
prayer-service on Friday last week at the Gani Fawehenmi Freedom
Park in Lagos.
‘Freedom Park’, as it is known amongst Nigerians, was the stomping
ground for protestors in Lagos as they campaigned against the hike
in fuel prices by the government.
Sheikh Ahmad, Head of the Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria, stated
that “Boko haram must not be affiliated with Islam.” The cleric
asked why the recent crisis caused by militants in the Niger-delta
region was not linked to Christian sects when they are the ones
thought to be bombing oil producing areas.
“If there is a problem with the Niger-Delta militants, it is not
linked to Christian sects but when it comes to Boko Haram, Islam
is affiliated” he said disappointingly. “This is wrong and unfair”
said the cleric, adding that “Terrorism is evil and it is not
Islam” he affirmed.
He went on to explain that “there is no conflict between Muslims
and Christians”, adding that their “collective problems as
Nigerians are oppression, bad governance and corruption.”
He called on the media to remain unbiased in its reporting as he
observed that “Boko Haram is killing Muslims in Mosques in
Maiduguri which is under-reported. Churches and Mosques are being
bombed with equal rage.”
In a video message posted on YouTube, a new leader of the Boko
Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau defended the recent attacks of
Christians in Northern Nigeria, as “revenge for the killing of
In a response to the video, Reverend Dapo Daramola of the
Methodist Church of Nigeria has urged the federal government to
fish out the members of Boko Haram responsible for its publication
so that they can be brought to justice.
He explains: “Now that Boko Haram have a face and have affirmed
their links with al-Qaeda… similar to how Osama bin-Laden makes
use of his videos, the Nigerian government must now step-up its
intelligence gathering and go after these guys.”
Boko Haram has carried out specific attacks on several
churches killing dozens of worshippers in northern Nigeria and
this has led to some reprisals in the south with attacks reported
on Mosques in two states.
Reverend Daramola supports the view of Sheikh Ahmad that the
country is not facing a religious war/ crisis but one of
terrorism. He condemned the killings of Christians in the north
saying he feels “very sad and dispirited over the growing loss of
life and livelihoods and the growing failure and capacity of the
government to declare war against these people.”
The clergy are now looking to the Nigerian government to work with
foreign intelligence to address the security issue, which is
“apparently beyond the capacity of the Nigerian Police Force and
is fast taking its toll on Christians,” concluded the reverend.