From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has accused some Muslim leaders and preachers of deriving pleasure in statements, preaching and other actions that could trigger religious war in Nigeria.
CAN was specifically concerned that some of the Islamic preachers and Muslim leaders, particularly in Kwara State, seem to be enjoying the support of the government which has emboldened them to continue in their extremist actions.
CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola, in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, expressed fears that there could soon be unfriendly and catastrophic reactions from Christians in some parts of Nigeria who are being oppressed by the deliberate actions of the Muslim leaders and preachers.
With reference to Kwara, CAN registered its sadness that the government has continued to implement policies that are unfavourable to Christians in the state.
“CAN is still trying to curb the violence occasioned by Kwara governor’s directive to mission’s schools to allow the wearing of hijab, when some ‘extremists’ went and built Ummul Khair Central Mosque and Islamic Centre beside Catholic Bishop’s House and the secretariat. This was primarily to tempt peace-loving Christians into a religious crisis.
“To compound the problem, one Abubakar Ali-Agan and the general manager, Kwara State Physical Planning Authority, claimed there was a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Catholic Bishop of Ilorin and the owners of the Ummul Khair Central Mosque before erecting the structures, whereas, it was absolute falsehood and misinformation.
“We challenge them to publish the said MoU. It is time we advised some Muslim leaders in the country to stop fishing in troubled waters with a view to provoking Christians whom they share the same neighbourhood with. This should stop.”
CAN appealed to Kwara State government to, immediately, order the relocation of the controversial mosque and the Islamic centre, in order to prevent the crisis being deliberately provoked by some Islamic leaders and followers in the country.
“It is an open secret that no religion has a monopoly of violence, hence, Christian leaders continue, always, to caution faithful Christians against provocative actions against other religions or citizens wherever they live as Christ taught us,” he said.
He called on the security agencies to caution and prevent any group of people whose actions can lead to religious and social crisis and violence in the country, also calling on well-meaning Islamic leaders to talk to their members with provocative and evil-intended actions.