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Not In My Name

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The title of this article is borrowed from the Not In My Name Project which was created in the United States of America to oppose the impending invasions of Iraq in 2003. The founders of the project argued that sitting idly by and “letting history take its course over the graves of the nameless” was not an option.

Muslims in Nigeria and all across the globe are facing a similar predicament and fringe elements with their religion are going down a road of perdition and are threatening to take everyone along with them.

Muslims must believe that it is their collective responsibility to resist the aggression, bloodshed and carnage perpetrated by few extremist in the name of their religion.

This can only be successful if it is believed that another world is possible, and it is up to the religious adherents and not the destructive fringe elements, to make it real.

The only thing for religious faithful and all other decent people to do right now is to condemn, without reserve or qualification the incessant needless slaughter. It must be emphasised that none of religious fascists, terrorists and nihilists represents a true Muslim or the Islamic faith in this misbegotten path to perdition that they have chosen.

Nigeria, is being squeezed to death, suffocated and strangled and thrown into the quagmire of annihilation, desolation and destitution! And, who cares, who bothers, who in the whole land bewails and laments? Islam is been defaced, humiliated, misrepresented and betrayed from within.

The entire Muslim Ummah have a duty to it is time to stand up and be counted among the forces for good. They must adopt, embrace, preach and propagate true Islam by accepting in totality everything about humanity, racial and religious harmony, peace and love.

These terrorist agenda is a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane. This ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. This violent ideology like fascism is intended to appeal to idealistic young people with a utopian future where the world will be cleansed. Islam existed before the fascist ideology by the fringe elements, and will exist after it.

It is time that political leaders find some back bone to stand up to extremism. Muslim clerics who speak nicely to all in public in gatherings, then go to their mosques and promote violence must be condemned in all totality. Islamic faithfuls must be willing to criticize those who use the cloth of a cleric to promote hatred and bigotry. Muslims must begin to be more vocal in their denunciation of the extremism in their own religion. Change has to come from within. Non-Muslim should do what they can to help, but religious Muslims who support peace and religious tolerance have to take the lead. They have to identify the ideological problems and also the problem makers within, and they have to make necessary changes.

The society as a whole must be more aggressive in standing against this ideology of hatred. There is the need to help create an environment whereby open minded Muslim leaders who speak out against fundamentalist violence are given a wide forum, and protection, for many of them fear the extremists. The Nigerian leadership should also limit the support to countries that openly allow and even promote the doctrine of hate and destruction. And if such countries are found guilty of supporting these religious fascists, the Nigerian Government should bring its full diplomatic power to bear by using all means and any means necessary to defend the Nigerian State against these terrorists and their collaborators both within and without.

In tackling these problems, firstly, reality must be acknowledged. If any organization, religious or otherwise, preaches to its members violence against a country and its citizens, then the government of that country has both the right and the duty to take actions to protect itself and its citizens.

Indoctrinating followers to purposely terrorize and kill innocent people must not be allowed.

The era of hiding and hoping that the problem goes away is over. The problem of religious fascism must be tackled headlong. It's also understandable to argue that an individual should be responsible for their own actions and you shouldn't judge a whole religious community. However, silence in the face of tyranny is wrong, it is at best indifference, and at worst an act of complicity. At this time silence is not golden, but synonymous to acceptance.

The Prophet's ideas were incredibly modern for their time; they went directly against the social norms of their society (calling for worship of One God in a pagan idolater society). The courage Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had in standing up to injustice, chaos and dishonesty is what all Muslims require today. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was an embodiment of tolerance and in his words and actions; he enjoined Muslims to accord respect and help protect the People of the Book (Jews and Christians).

In a handwritten Charter of Privileges to the monk of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai, one of the oldest monasteries still standing today, the Holy Prophet of Islam wrote thus:

“This is a message from Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. “No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.

“No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. “Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”

In accordance with the Directive of Allah and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) Muslims have to stand up and be counted; say it loud and clear:

“I condemn utterly the unprovoked attacks by the religious fascists against the people of Nigeria and the world community. The unjustifiable loss of any human life is a terrible thing. At this juncture, though, my heart is with the victims on the ground in the midst of their misery. And I extend my hand to those Moslems who are speaking out against those fascists intent on destroying our religion. Not In My Name shall injustice and slaughter be carried out”.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Akinniyi Abioye Oyewusi and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Akinniyi Abioye Oyewusi