The Federal Government (FG) said yesterday that it had not yet decided whether or not to join the all-Muslim alliance. The all-Muslim alliance is a 34-nation military coalition led by Saudi Arabia.
While the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) commends FG for not rushing into the coalition, we advise that Nigeria should stay away from the Islamic military bloc.
The major reason for adopting this line of thinking is the multi-religious status of our country. Nigeria is neither a theocratic state nor is it a secular one. This country is made up of two major religious groups (Christians and Muslims) as well as several other traditional religious societies whose number is dictated by the number of its ethnic groups.
A military coalition with a religious colouring will no doubt ignite another controversy. Anybody who thinks it will favour Nigerian Muslims should check his records again. We affirm clearly, emphatically and unequivocally that Nigerian Muslims do not need an Islamic military coalition. We are not at war with our Christian neighbours.
A religious military bloc is an ill wind that blows nobody any good. Nigeria has enough security problems on its hands. We must also remember that the Boko Haram saga nearly caused religious war between Christians and Muslims because the former misunderstood the setting ab initio thereby accusing the latter of sponsoring the hoodlums. Nigeria’s involvement in an all-Muslim military alliance will revive those fears.
Nigeria is presently leading a non-religious regional coalition against Boko Haram. The same coalition should suffice to battle any form of terrorist threat in the West African subregion. We should not venture into an international all-Muslim alliance.
This is not an Islamic state and, contrary to the misleading perception in some quarters, Nigerian Muslims are not in the least interested in turning this country into an Islamic republic. All we want is to peacefully coexist with our Christian and traditionalist neighbours while all we demand from them is just to leave us alone and allow us to be what we are.
Finally, we warn that a military bloc with an Islamic nomenclature is the last group Nigeria should join. This all-Muslim alliance is designed for countries with around 90% Muslim population. It is meant for Arab countries and others like Indonesia, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Nigeria must keep it at bay.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
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