NIGERIA: Islamisation or CHRISTIANISATION? (MUST READ)
Two monotous and meaningless words are frequently used mischievously in Nigeria. One is Islamization. The other is maginalization. The one is used religiously while the other is used politically. None of the two words can be found in any English dictionary because they are coinages of some Nigerian mischief makers who find religion and politics as tools for their game of mischieve. Thus, the two words are sometimes interchangeably used as missiles either as a way of disarming their perceived opponents or as a form of psychological intimidatton against them. Invariably, the two ridiculously monotonous words often used as hate speech are from the same source. Were the users of those words well informed, they would have known that such monotony is like an old song with a sour taste that is unfitting to a civilized society and its continuity is clear evidence of blatant ignorance on the part of those who still cling to it.
In a reaction to the use of the word Islamization by the Chritian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in reference to Nigerian secondary school curriculum recently, the Muslim Ummah of Southwest Nigeria (MUSWEN) issued a press statement to put the record sreaight. Excerpts from the statement are as followa:
“The allegation of Islamis zation of the country is not a novelty. Whenever the Christian leaders find it difficult to constructively engage with an issue that relates to Muslims in the country, they readily resort to the false allegation of Islamization as blackmail. Unfounded claims of Islamization have now assumed such a ridiculous that it is now a laughing matter in the comity of nations.
We have watched with calmness how the leaderships of both the CAN and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) have, in recent times, taken such a combative posture in their seeming hatred for Islam and the Muslims that the once pwaceful coexistence between the adherents of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria have become mutually suspicious on any issue. Most worrisome is the recent pronouncement by the National Christian Elders’ Forum (NCEF) which paraded a number of retired Christian Generals including the hitherto respected elder statesman, General Theophilus Danjuma.
In a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting held in Abuja on Thursday, 13th July, 2017, which was reported in several newspapers (eg The Punch, July 14, 2017; Page 14), NCEF referred to what it regarded as “stealth/civilization Jihad” (whatever that was supposed to mean) and “violent Jihad”. The body accused those it called “Islamists” of plotting to impose what it described as “Sharia ideology” on the country. Furthermore, their understanding of the term “taqiyyah” to which they made reference was, to say the least, misinformed and an indication of their wrong perception of Islam as a religion and a way of life.
It was obviously mischievous for Nigerian Christian elders to ignore the fact that Boko Haram group chose a predominantly Muslim region as its theatre of war and devastated its economy as much as it killed its people. At least, an overwhelming majority of those attacked were Muslims, and most of the places bombed were Mosques. What further evidence does anyone need to be convinced that the agenda of the Boko Haram group is largely targeted at mainstream Islam?
MUSWEN is very disappointed that most of the news reports on the meeting of the NCEF highlighted the presence of retired Christian Generals at the meeting. Was this a deliberate act of intimidation? And what signals were those retired Christian Generals sending to the entire world?
The Curriculum Issue
The allegation, reportedly made by the National Christian Elders’ Forum (NCEF) at the same meeting, that the introduction of Religion and National Values as part of the revised curriculum for Basic Education “denigrates Christianity and promotes Islam” cannot be credited with evidence.
In the same vein, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria’s (PFN) claim made at its meeting held in Benin City on 29th June, 2017, that the Nigerian Education Research and Development Council (NERDC) was used as an instrument of religious indoctrination in favour of Islam (See: The Punch, Friday, July 14, 2017; Page 9) is false and highly misplaced.
We are, however, delighted by the statement credited to the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, when a delegation of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) visited him on Wednesday, 12th July, 2017. Senator Saraki was reported to have said to the delegation:
“You will remember that in 2010, the past administration came up with reforms on how to reduce the number of subjects at the basic education level… There were about 20 subjects at that time, and subsequently they were reduced to 12… In the process of implementing those reforms, we have this problem. Why I am saying this is so we don’t leave here and believe that it was done to favour one religion over the other… Now the reform is clearly not working. So our responsibility is to look into that reform and make it work.” (See:http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/236774- saraki-speakscrk-irk-curriculum-controversy.html)
When religious leaders can no longer address issues dispassionately without resorting to blackmail, blatant lies and falsification of facts to promote hatred against others, then the very foundation of the moral values of such leaders is largely questionable. “If gold should rust, what will then become of iron?”
It should be recalled for posterity sake that the revised curriculum in question was approved in 2014 during the time of the former President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian. It is also instructive to note that the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Education Research and Development Council (NERDC) at the time was Prof Godswill Obioma, a Christian. (See: http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/166030-nigeria-revises-basic-educationcurriculum.html). What more, the Minister of State for Education, who superintended over Basic Education matters at the time, was no other person than Barrister Nyesom Wike, the current Governor of Rivers State who is a Christian! The question then is: why are the Christian leaders making a mountain out of a mole hill now that we have a Muslim President? If there is a need for policy change why can’t they say so without resorting to name-calling?
The Misinformed CAN President
The CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayotunde, during his visit to the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo was reported to have referred to the Arabic language in the curriculum as “Islamic Arabic Studies”. (See: http://thenationonlineng.net/can-visitsosinbajo-demands-five-point-agenda/). For CAN President’s information and others like him, there is no such subject as “Islamic Arabic studies in Nigeria’s curriculum of education. Arabic is a language, like English, French or German, and not a religion as mischievously claimed by CAN’s President.
Arabic is not only spoken by over 700 million native and non-native speakers across the world including many Christians and it is also one of the six major languages used for the conduct of official bussiness of many international organizations including the United Nations (UN).
In a recent pronouncement, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa‘ad Abubakar, vehemently refuted the claim of ‘Islamization’ of Nigerian polity saying that Muslim leaders had been in the forefront of the demand that the study of religion should be made compulsory in public schools. In fact, Muslims have always insisted that every child should be taught the religion of his or her parents in line with the relevant provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria. (See Section 38 (1), (2) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution). We stand by this.
It is, therefore, a welcome relief that the Federal Government has announced that both Islamic Studies and Christian Religious Studies should now be taught as stand-alone subjects throughout the country. We hope this will finally lay to rest all the avoidable insinuations, blackmails and falsehood being disseminated to Nigerians by CAN and its agents through the media.
Christianisation Rather than not Islamization
It is ironic that those who inherited and perpetrated the imposition of a colonial Euro-Christian educational system on Nigeria are the ones now mischievously alleging Islamization of education in Nigeria. It is a fact of history that for more than a century, particularly in Yorubaland, educational system was the potent instrument employed to “catch them (Muslim children) young” by Christian evangelical teachers who subject those Muslim school pupils to Christian indoctrination and force them to drop their Islamic identities for those of Christianity. Thus, ‘Christianization through education’ agenda was been consistently pursued with vigour for decades even though virtually all the schools were grant-aided by governments. Virtually every Muslim family in Yorubaland has a story to tell about the historical subjection of Muslim pupils and students to a crude but brutal Christianization agenda through education.
Even today, many Christian teachers and school administrators still deny Muslim pupils their religious rights as Ministries of Education in many States refuse to employ teachers of Islamic Studies apparently as a way of forcing those pupils to take Christian Religious Studies .
CAN’s bellicose objection to anything Muslim, such as the provision of access to interest-free financial services, is held with shock and amazement. Ironically, the governors of some predominantly Christian-populated states in the country have either secretly obtained or applied for interest-free loans from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), an institution which they often publicly condemn or derogate. It was a onetime Christian President, Chirf Olusegun Obasanjo who facilitated the country’s membership of the Islamic Development Bank to the immeasurable benefit of all Nigerians irrespective of their religions and most of the beneficiaries of that facility are Christians. Yet, the irritating noise of Islamization of Nigeria continues to sound loud.
The challenges facing our nation today call for a profound spiritual and moral overhauling of the polity. Giving a child education without the fear of God amounts to making him or her a clever devil. The immoral practice of subjecting a child to instruction or participation in a religion other than that of his or her parent’s is criminal and should be stopped forthwith. This is the only way to have a truly pluralist society and a peaceful nation. God save Nigeria!?
Written by Femi AbbasTo Receive Latest Music, Video & News Updates , Add Us To Your WhatsApp: 08035927807; BBM Pin: D1C43241