by Jude Feranmi
Since December 16, 2015, what has become evident in the way that religious extremism is being understood in our country is the seeming metamorphosis that begins from movements with original sincere religious intentions and then graduates into a state in itself without obedience to laws of the land and regard for authority in the societies where they operate.
The question then is not whether what we now know as religious extremism or Islamic terrorism is borne out of movements that purport to be peaceful and for the benefit of its members but a question of whether what they end up becoming benefits their members and members of the society.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that is reactionary instead of being pro-active to every matter that affects our lives even to the point of life and death, this time the security of lives and property. One would expect that we would have learnt our lesson with what we know about the history of boko haram which is now officially regarded as the Islamic State of West Africa even though we are now aware that they currently hold in control of their forces no local government area of the 774 local government areas in the country with our armed forces consistently chasing them out of their hiding places day in day out.
What we now know to be the Islamic Movement of Nigeria under the Leadership of El Zakzaky which has existed for a while now has not only taken the shape of a well-intentioned Islamic movement which is on the path to another extremist organization that is about to turn itself into a terrorist organization owing to the unconditional release of their leader who is in detention.
It is on record that those who have followed the incidents and protests of these Shiites who have become a law unto themselves have started gathering enough force within themselves to acquire arms and cause mayhem to achieve their ends. It is no gainsaying that a supposedly peaceful organization with a large occultic following who has gone ahead to infringe on the rights of average Nigerians to the extent of attacking the Nigerian Army last December has the ability and the capacity to hold hostage a whole state should they decide to finally forgo their masking as a peaceful movement.
In a democratic society where laws should apply to all and sundry irrespective of social status or religious beliefs, it is expected that every citizen be subject to the laws of the land. Furthermore, In a society where Islamic terrorism has gained much traction that President Buhari has even considered the necessity of joining a coalition of Islamic countries fighting terrorism to safeguard and protect our society and also see to the end of the Boko Haram Menace in spite of the religious coloration that such actions tend to carry along, should a group or movement with potential to turn into another terrorist organization should they acquire arms and force to achieve their ends? A feat that is evident they are capable of?
It is to this end that a coalition of Nigerians have decided to kick-start an awareness campaign and Unite Against Terrorism starting with a Media Campaign that hopes to get the Federal Government’s Attention to see that this issue does not escalate into another issue of Islamic Extremism under any guise in the path to seek freedom for their leader or justice for their people who were killed.
We hope that as we take on the proactive stance to prevent another Islamic Extremism cum Islamic Terrorism in our country, Nigerians will see the need to join their voices and say #NoToShiitesExtremism #NoToIslamicTerrorism as we advocate for a peaceful and terror-free society.
Join the Conversation on Twitter with these hashtags and we can kick-start the cam.paign to establish peace in our society