Top Muslim leaders and Islamic scholars across the country yesterday rose in condemnation of the Christmas Day bombings in parts of the North, saying such attacks were un-Islamic and that the Boko Haram sect which claimed to have executed them was not doing so on behalf of Muslims.
The powerful Muslim groups NSCIA and JNI, headed by Sultan of Sokoto Saâ€™ad Abubakar, said the attacks were dastardly and reprehensible, and urged that its perpetrators be punished.
Also, leader of the Dariqa sect Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi condemned the attacks yesterday, saying that Islam prohibits attack on women, children and people taking shelter in churches.
Churches were targeted at Madalla, Niger State; Jos, Plateau State; and Damaturu, Yobe State, during Christmas, killing dozens of people. The Boko Haram sect claimed responsibility for the bombings, prompting fears of sectarian violence.
But the Muslim leaders who spoke yesterday said Boko Haram was not acting on behalf of Muslims and that its action were not backed by religious strictures.
In a statement yesterday, national headquarters of the Jamaâ€™atu Nasril Islam and the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic affairs, headed by the Sultan, said those behind the bombings must be punished to serve as deterrent.
The statement, signed by JNI secretary-general Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, â€œcondemned in strong terms the series of bomb blasts and violence in the country especially those of Christmas Day bomb blasts in Madalla near Abuja, Damaturu and Jos, which resulted in the unfortunate loss of lives of innocent people and properties. It is sad and disheartening.
â€œHuman life is sacred and therefore must be respected, preserved and protected at all times by all.
â€œSecurity agencies must fish out the perpetrators of these dastardly acts and make them face wrath of the law, regardless of their status, so as to serve as deterrent to others and also must take proactive measures to nip in the bud the reoccurrence of such dastardly acts before they happen in order to create sense of security and safety in the citizenry.
â€œWhile commiserating with those who lost their loved ones and properties in the unfortunate incidents, we call on all citizens to take security as responsibility of all, cooperate and assist security agencies in the discharge of their duties.â€
Shortly after issuing the statement yesterday, the JNI scribe spoke to Daily Trust, explaining that Islam does not encourage violence.
â€œThe perpetrators of the Christmas Day blasts in all parts of the country have done their evil acts not on behalf of the Nigerian Muslims or Islam. Boko Haram that claimed responsibility has done so on their own not on behalf of the Nigerian Muslims,â€ Aliyu said. â€œWe are suspecting so many things relating to these blasts, therefore the security agents should be up and doing in clearing our doubts,â€ he added.
In a separate interview with journalists in Kaduna, the JNI scribe described the bombings as satanic, un-Islamic and ungodly, adding that no true Muslim would like to be associated with such act. â€œIslam means peace and our Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) died preaching peaceful co-existence among various tribes and religions. No any meaningful development would take place in our country without peace and security,â€ Aliyu said.
He cited several verses of the Holy Qurâ€™an and the Hadith, which categorically prohibit and condemned any action that would lead to loss of lives.
Also yesterday, a renowned Islamic scholar and leader of the Dariqa sect, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, expressed dismay over the bombing of religious places.
â€œEven at war front, leaders of the warring religions normally canvass for peace through dialogue but not through killings of innocent souls or burning of places of worship or properties,â€ he said.
Sheikh Dahiru said even when two sides engage in a religious war, women and children as well as people taking shelter in churches are untouchable as enshrined in Islam.
He blamed lack of punishment for culprits, lack of good leadership and injustice by leaders as being responsible for the rising spate of bombings in the country.
Sheikh Dahiru urged Nigerians to pray for the salvation of the country, and for peace and stability to reign.
Other senior Islamic scholars who spoke yesterday on the Christmas Day bombings are Sheikh Muhammad Isa, Sheikh Usman Saif and Ummah Abdul. They said the attacks were unjustifiable and condemnable.