Old Students Association


Menace of Religious Fanaticism – Disu Kamor

Date: August 15, 2014 Author: busari Categories: News

“Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and argue with them in the best way possible. Your Lord surely knows best who has gone astray from His way, and He knows best who are the rightly guided” (Qur’an 16:125)

A religious fanatic at the University of Ibadan (UI), Miss Seun Bunmi Adegunsoye, went on a public tirade against fasting Muslims at a Jummat service taking place inside the university’s Muslim community central mosque on Friday 13th August, 2010 to preach her hybrid Christianity to the ‘damned Muslims’ in the mosque. She was reported to have disguised herself as a Muslim lady with head-cover in order to gain access to the section of the mosque reserved for women. As she waited for the congregation to stand in prayer- the first Jummat service of the month of Ramadan- she started to scream “Jesus is the way, accept him. He will soon come. Allah is not the way. Except you accept Christ in your life, you are not safe. All of you here, no matter the number of the congregation, accept Jesus Christ. Allah is not God; Jesus is Lord”. This surely was a premeditated plot to provoke violent response from the Muslims. Aside the fact that this Islamophobic delirium shows the increasing frustration these proselytizing warriors feel, the intolerance, bigotry and hostility that Muslims face at their hands knows no bound. It seems so many of them simply think their destiny is to save the Muslims by hating them.

If some of those aggressively offering salvation to the Muslims had known as much of Islam, as Muslims knew of Christendom, this type of mad, adventurous and utterly fanatical outburst could not have taken place. One wonders how on earth the lady expected her extreme actions and religious ignorance to evoke any type of emphatic response from the people she harassed. But in truth, the aim of most of their adventures is not to share the religious belief but confront what they are deceived into accepting as the force of darkness. As Marsden puts it, to these fundamentalists ‘the universe is divided between the forces of light and darkness, spiritually enlightened Christians can tell who the enemy is. In such a war, there can be no compromise. (George M. Marsden, 1991: 24, Understanding Fundamentalism & Evangelicalism). They have obviously singled out Muslims to engage them in perpetual and irredeemable religious war and in order to keep alive the flames of war against Islam and Muslims, lies, myths, irrational and ridiculous tales are used to vilify, demonize and mischaracterize Islam. Campuses across the country are one of the frontiers where the war is being waged against the Muslims and the likes of Miss Adegunsoye, utterly ignorant and zealous, provide fertile minds to plant and nourish hate so they can unleash them on the wider society.

So the problem is much bigger than the assault at UI, and it is widespread. Nigerian Muslims face social or economic biases and there remain media biases that contribute a lot to the general climate in the country which makes Christian fanaticism unreported, tolerable and even acceptable. Many non-Muslims have acknowledged this fact in their writings. A commentator, Life Uzoma, wrote in the Guardian newspaper of 19/08/09, Nigeria and Religious Crisis that “Religious tolerance and our peaceful coexistence will continue to be a problem due to the way and manner some of us have carried on with the expression of our faith and belief. A recent advertisement looking for those who would want to make a career in the Christian Ministry stated the required quality: aggressive. They would need this quality so as to penetrate villages, cities, offices, and wherever people can be found“.

Despite Muslims’ best efforts to isolate the fringe extreme elements within its own rank and contribute positively to promote peace and understanding, Muslims continue to be vulnerable to discrimination, criminal hate, stupid bigotry, innuendos and attacks which have come to be the mainstream view of most Christians in the country. Sadly, such constant demonization and unabated vilification receive media sanction that either misreports or avoid reporting on positive initiatives made by the Muslim community, thus blames are regularly and solely laid on Islam and Muslims, for being the wide-eyed wackos intent on unleashing religion-induced terror on their fellow countrymen. Yet in all of these, vast majority of Muslims continue to call for peaceful co-existence and tolerance.
One of such initiatives that is left unreported was the occasion of the festival of the breaking of Ramadan four years ago when 138 Muslim scholars, clerics and intellectuals published an open letter titled A Common Word addressed to the leaders of Christian Churches and denominations all over the world. The very first signatory to A Common Word initiative is His Royal Eminence Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, the 20th Sultan of Sokoto; other Nigerian signatories include Dr. Lateef Oladimeji Adegbite, Justice Ibrahim Kolapo Sulu Gambari, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule and the late Chief Abdul Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo. This initiative to declare the common ground between Christianity and Islam, the first since the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), offers a framework to address religious, historical, social and practical issues between the two world communities. It was established on the premise that since Muslims and Christians make up about 55% of the world’s population; world peace depends to a great extent on establishing peace and common basis between these two groups. That common basis is love of God and love of neighbour! Nothing more, nothing less. This initiative represents an ongoing call to commit to become true ambassadors to the noblest ideals of the two faiths and work together on common grounds locally to contribute to the global agenda to chart a new course for peace, security and understanding in the 21st century. This is a call that is still being ignored by the Nigerian Christiandom. So far, more than 300 Muslim scholars and over 460 Islamic organizations and associations, about 300 leading U.S. Evangelical leaders and hundreds of other Christian leaders across the world have committed to this call. Sadly, no single Christian leader in Nigeria has so far committed to this initiative.
It is now crucial that University of Ibadan makes efforts to assure its whole student population that certain standards of behaviour are simply unacceptable as this sordid incident reflects negatively on it. A university of UI status must be seen as a centre of learning that enables every student broadens his mind and learn tolerance and mutual respect. Not a safe haven for antagonistic bigots and proselytizing warriors. Every religion must have a right and space to share its good message in an atmosphere that recognizes collective rights and promotes peace. Seun made a deliberate choice to commit a premeditated assault on a house of worship and on the worshipers, for these crimes she must face the just consequences of her actions according to the rules of her school. It is a choice she made, and only a just resolution that guarantees total protection and rights of all will prevent recurrence.
At a personal level, she deserves our prayers, sympathy and forgiveness. Her schizophrenic ranting shows clearly that she is a troubled individual in need of true knowledge and real salvation which Islam alone offers. Islam’s history is full of people like her who set off mindlessly attacking Islam and Muslims but ended up being worthy flag-bearers of the faith.
Disu Kamor
Director of Media & Communications
Muslim Public Affairs Centre, MPAC
e-mail: kamor.disu@mpac-ng.org website: www.mpac-ng.org

Read: MPAC Condemns Christian Provocations at University of Ibadan