August 14th, 2012; Updated 12 midnight
NewsRescue- Nigeria’s Muslims are becoming Boko Haram’s worst nightmare, as preaching against the group and action against the group including citizen arrests of their members and informing the security about suspicious activity and people is at an all time high in North Nigeria.
The recent frank condemnation by one of Nigeria’s most renowned Sheikhs, Gumi in his Ramadan sermons, brings this statement to the glare.
In June, we reported about a Muslim group, MuslimsAgainstTerror, which in strong terms, condemned Boko Haram and encouraged all Muslims and especially Muslim leadership to follow suit. Explaining that the fear of Boko and silence was only making the devil through Boko Haram more strong, and promoting death and intolerance and Christian suspicion in Nigeria. The most recent clear condemnation by Sheikh Gumi can be read below:
Islamic cleric Sheik Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, whose series of daily Ramadan sermons is gradually drawing to a close, yesterday asserted that members of the Boko Haram sect are the most dangerous enemies of Prophet Mohammed and Muslims in general.
The cleric, who is based in Saudi Arabia, made the statement as he preached yesterday at the Sultan Bello Mosque in Kaduna. He enjoined fellow Islamic clerics to defy any fears and preach against the unjustifiable killings allegedly perpetrated by members of the sect.
One of the clerics at the mosque, who did not want to be named, told a correspondent of SaharaReporters that he was inspired by Mr. Gumi’s courageous message and would follow suit.
Our source credited Sheik Gumi with warning his audience that there were also criminals carrying out criminal acts in the name of Boko Haram and destroying the image of Muslims. In addition, he reportedly alleged that some elements were recruited by Western powers to fight Islam in Nigeria.
Mr. Gumi added that, if members of Boko Haram were truly behind the bombing and killing of innocent people, then they are enemies of Islam and Muslims in Nigeria. He said there were serious developmental challenges affecting Muslims that need to be addressed rather than carrying out arms and killing people.
Our source quoted Sheik Gumi as stating, “If it is true that it is Boko Haram, I repeat, anybody that carries a bomb and kills people is wrong. Our malams [teachers] should not be afraid to talk. The issue that anybody who talks about Boko Haram will be killed should be defied. [Some say] that if you talk about the consequences of Boko Haram, they will kill you and [so] the best is to keep mute. If you keep quiet, they have already killed you since you are silent. Show them the right way of practicing Islam, and [do not] allow a few people to be practicing contrary to the laid down rules as enshrined by Allah.”
Sheik Gumi added, “You who have hid are cheating our faith. You are not helping Islam but destroying our Ummah. We have been oppressed and [members of Boko Haram] have come with weapons and bombs attacking our society. Because of this, I state that Prophet Mohammed and his people have no enemies more dangerous than they. If they want true religion and better society they must drop weapons. This is not the time for carrying weapons.
“It is time for us to address our core challenges of development that threaten our existence. Imagine a Muslim woman who, in the course of having a baby, will open her nakedness before an infidel…and you are here talking about bombs. Food we cannot eat on our own, except rice brought from Thailand. Medicines we get from England.”
The cleric further spoke about the weapons used in the attacks. He asked, “How did a 12-year old boy know how explosive bombs are made or affording it? All the money before us here cannot buy explosive bombs. It is the enemies that are giving them weaponry and they…believe that it was sincerely donated in fighting Allah’s cause. Unknown to them, it is all aimed at destroying Islam.”
Condemning attacks on Christian churches, the cleric asked, “If you attack Church, where people are worshipping, what is the profit and for what purpose? Is it Allah or Prophet that sent you? Is there any Muslim that said you should attack a church? Talk of mosque, they are being used in destroying Islam and may Allah help them to know. Our strength is our unity and the practice of real Islam. And anybody who thinks he will be using force like this, Islam and Ummah have no greater enemy than him.”
The cleric suggested that there are different types of Boko Haram. “There are those using it to destroy Islam, criminals attacking banks in the name of Jihad. There are those using it to attack Muslims in mosques. After attacks you will just see somebody with turban and guns belonging to the West, denting the name of Islam. Because of this we should be careful. There is Boko Haram and some fake ones, pure criminals. The real Boko Haram can be changed with sermon. Our malams should stand up to tell them there is no justification for killings. Don’t be afraid. They are killing Muslims and the infidels we have agreement to live in peace with.”
Mr. Gumi, who has been critical of Boko Haram, may have been the target of the bombers
The bomb blast in Kaduna, Tuesday afternoon, may have been targeted at a renowned Islamic Scholar and medical doctor, Ahmed Gumi, sources in Kaduna say.
A witness who prefer not to be named said “though the explosion may have been accidental, the Sheikh is clearly the target because the incident occurred just when he was about to leave for the daily Tafsir he delivers at Sultan Bello Mosque.”
It is not clear who the bearers of the explosive were. However, the Islamic cleric has been very critical of the Boko Haram sect as well as the Federal Government in his Ramadan sermons this year.
The cleric is one of the few prominent Islamic clerics, based in Northern Nigeria, who publicly condemn the activities of the sect.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Kaduna State Police Command, Abubakar Balteh, while confirming the incident, said only two bodies, believed to be those of the assailants, were found at the scene of the blast.
But some witnesses say three persons were on the motorcycle on which the attackers rode before the explosion.
Mr. Baltzh said, “two persons on a motorcycle were killed from an IED (improvised explosive device) that accidentally exploded on transit.”
Speaking further, Mr. Balteh said “the incident occurred around 3:45pm around Modibo Adama Junction leading to the residence of Sheikh Dr Ahmed Gumi near NNPC Mega station along Ali Akilu way.”
“However, no other casualty is reported and we have already commenced investigation into the explosion,” he said.
Kaduna, the political capital of old Northern Nigeria, has witnessed several attacks by the Boko Haram group.
In July, the group attacked the home of Namadi Sambo, the Vice president, in Zaria, killing one person.
Several bomb attacks in the state, especially on places of worship and private residences, have also caused the death of dozens of people.
Tuesday’s explosion came amidst reports that the Boko Haram sect had begun negotiation with the Federal Government .
A man, Abu Mohammed, who claimed to be the deputy leader of Boko Haram, called the Voice of America to inform them that the sect was having discussions with the FG.
Mr. Mohammed called a VOA reporter in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to talk about the negotiation which he said was facilitated prominent Northern leaders.
PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify Mr. Mohammed’s claim.