Islam not for violence, says cleric
The Chief Imam of Eket Central Mosque in Akwa Ibom State, Imam Abubakar Sadiq, has called on Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of unity, tolerance and togetherness.
He said any act of extremism or intolerance is against the teachings of Islam.
The spiritual leader stated this at the palace of the paramount ruler of Eket, His Highness, Edidem Abia, when the Association of Muslim Community in Eket visited the monarch as part of the Eid-el-Fitr celebration.
The Chief Imam said Muslims are encouraged to value lives and property, stressing that anyone who terminates lives is a criminal and far from Islam.
He said the Holy Quran does not teach enforcement or imposition of belief on anyone, and that it forbids any act of terrorism, killing and extremism.
Sadiq, who stated that the Muslim community in Eket had put checks and balances in place to prevent any form of unwanted infiltration, therefore, called on Muslim faithful to imbibe the spirit of patience, perseverance and tolerance and self-restraint, which will help them resist any evil and sin.
He said: “We Muslims are encouraged to value lives. If you see anyone terminating lives, he or she is far from Muslim. They are criminals and terrorists who do not abide by the true teachings of the religion. They are not part of us and they don’t represent us. I wish many people know this. We recognise Christians as our partners. We believe in Jesus Christ because for you to become a true Muslim, you have to believe in Jesus Christ whose name was mentioned 27 times in the Quran. Islam respects Jesus Christ and Christianity. We Muslims are even allowed to marry Christians and allow her to practise her religion because Islam made us to believe that there is no way everybody will become a Muslim. We are taught to have mercy on lives.”
The Imam, however, emphasized that Muslims in Eket are enjoying peaceful co-existence with their host-community.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Eket Muslim Community, Mr. Yakub Isa, said the association would continue to ensure that Muslims live peacefully with their host community.
He said the Muslim community had put a ‘catch them young’ programme in place to catch their younger ones and imbibe the spirit of togetherness and true teachings of Quran in them apart from formal education.
The paramount ruler, who called on all to imbibe the spirit of peace and love, enjoined Nigerians to eschew bitterness.
His words: “We should constantly preach peaceful co-existence in this country because without that, we cannot develop. Everybody should imbibe peace and love because with that, this country will be happy. We should eschew bitterness and hatred. We should respect each other no matter our religion, ethnic or tribe. Our diversity should be our strength and there should be unity in our diversity. We are blessed in this country and our different talents should also be a blessing to us.”
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