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Clerics: Sexual abuse in house of God is an abomination that should be condemned

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For sometime now, the issue of security in churches and mosques has been of great concern to many. From pilfering of money, shoes and handbags to the abduction of children during services, many places of worship cannot exactly be called hallowed grounds. And as if this was not enough, a new dimension has been added to the problem — incessant accusations of sexual abuses that are being levelled against Pastors and Imams by female members of their congregations. The gruesome murder of Miss Uwaila Omozuwa, an undergraduate of the University of Benin, after being raped in a church, underscores the gravity of the matter. Just what is happening in these houses of God? What does this portend for the clergy and their congregations? How can this menace be tackled? CHRIS IREKAMBA reports.

• ‘Rape Is An Aberration That Desecrates Worship Centres’
• ‘Spiritual And Moral Re-orientation Of Our Educational System Is Key’
•‘Our Legislators Should Propose And Pass Into Law, Stiff Penalties, Such As Castration, And Life Imprisonment, For Convicted Proven Rapists’
• ‘If A So-called Church Leader Commits Sin Of Rape That Individual Should Be Made To Face Wrath Of Law By Law Enforcers’
• ‘It’s Unthinkable And Unacceptable That Those Who Are Shepherds Of God’s People Now Turn Round To Defile Them’

‘It’s Condemnable, Especially When Church Leaders Who Should Teach Against Rape Are Involved’
(Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, President, Christian Association of Nigeria and Nigerian Baptist Convention)
Sin, according to the Scripture, is transgression of the law of God (1 John 3: 4). It could be rape, murder and stealing, among others. From Christian doctrines, all sinful acts are condemned and the sinner would go to hell, if he or she did not repent. The true churches of Christ in Nigeria and all over the world have been teaching their members to shun rape and any other acts of sexual violence. It is more appalling, when church leaders, who are at the vanguard of teaching against rape and other acts of sexual violence, engage in it!

Whenever anyone yields to the dictates of the flesh, such individual is going to fall to sin. It is by walking in the Spirit that any Christian would not fall into the trap of sin, which is in the flesh of all humankind. (Galatians 5:16). From the foregoing, if a so-called church leader or Christian commits the sin of rape or any other sin for that matter, that individual should be made to face the wrath of law by law enforcers. Also, such acts should not be taken to be representative of what the church stands for. Those involved in such shameful acts are far smaller in number than those who are upright and say ‘No’ to such evil.
I urge all pastors of churches to live what they teach, by being good examples to the flock and to teach their members to shun all sinful acts more vigorously.

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‘Religious Leaders Should Be Conscious Of God’s Judgment And Lead By Example’
(Prof. Dawud Noibi, former Executive Secretary of the Muslim Ummah of Southwest Nigeria (MUSWEN)
THE frequent occurrence of rape, gang-rape and murder of victims these days is, without doubt, a sad reflection of spiritual and moral bankruptcy in our society that is getting worse by the day. The fact that these dastardly acts also occur even among supposedly religious ‘leaders’ is evidence of the extent of that bankruptcy and very shameful.

It goes without saying that rape is bad enough. But the rape of a baby or the gang-rape of a seven-month pregnant woman and the murder of the victim are clearly acts of madness, which no person in their right senses would engage in.

One of the targets of Islamic legislation, as enunciated in the Qur’an and the Sunnah (Tradition of Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him) is the protection of human sanity, in addition to the protection of human life. Hence, the strict prohibition of all types of intoxicant, including the production and sale of same. That explains why, in some countries, the death sentence is proscribed for dealers in hard drugs.

The current efforts of government and the National Assembly to find a solution to this problem should not fail to take cognisance of the need to stop indulgence in the use of intoxicants, particularly among the youth.

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The nation must also address the moral dilemma we have found ourselves. In the second stanza of our national anthem, we recognise the need for divine guidance and help for both our leaders and the youths. But conversely, many of our politicians, including some lawmakers and particularly some media personnel, try to propagate the concept of secularism with the implication that religion should have nothing to do with governance or education. We should all admit that we are a multi-religious people and nation and make concerted efforts to bring the moral and spiritual values of our two main religions – Christianity and Islam – to bear on governance, including lawmaking.

In this regard, our national orientation agency should work closely with the Nigerian Inter-religious Council (NIREC) to work out ways and means by which the citizenry’s spiritual and moral consciousness can be kept alive sustainably. This is a task that NIREC should face, rather than one group trying to outwit the other. We should genuinely be religious leaders actively conscious of our responsibility before Allah on Judgment Day for leading our followers by example. I wish to use this opportunity to ventilate my strong belief in the need for a spiritual and moral re-orientation of our educational system. Enough of the lip-service to belief in life after death and ultimate accountability to the Supreme Being for EVERYTHING we do in this world (Qur’an 99:7, 8; 18:49). Allah may forgive a sin committed against His commandment, He will not, on that day, forgive an act of injustice committed against a fellow human being. Every victim of an act of injustice will take his/her pound of flesh from the perpetrator, which may lead the latter to everlasting punishment – imprisonment with hard labour in hellfire. Haabil (Abel) reportedly warned his brother, Kaabil (Cane), “Kill me and bear the whole burden of my sins along with yours,” that is, before Allah on Judgment Day (Q 5:27-29).

‘Pastors, Imams Should Organise Seminars For Male Folks To Respect Female Folks’
(Pastor Ezekiel Joel, Full Salvation Believers’ Assembly Int’l, Nnewi, Anambra State)
FOR me, rape is an irresponsible and satanic act, which should neither be contemplated nor attempted, let alone do it under any circumstances whatsoever. The trauma and lifelong evil effects it has on victims are spiritually and psychologically damaging. I doubt if victims ever recover, except if they undergo thorough scriptural deliverance sessions, and medical post-traumatic stress treatment. Rapists, whether they are priests of either Islamic or Christian faith, or regular people, are abnormal folks. They have no humanly acceptable reason to justify their evil actions. The damages done to the victims of rape, under the Old Testament Scripture, attracts stoning, if the victim raises alarm, but no one around to rescue her. Sadly, many young ladies have not been properly trained or educated on appropriate dressing, discrete body language, and choice of godly friends to associate with. But, be that as it may, no sane man, who is not morally bankrupt, will rationalise or excuse the evil acts of rapists, under any circumstances, whatsoever.

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I suggest, among other things, that holistic child training and resuscitation of our old-fashioned core values become a serious priority in our parenting activities. Let church leaders and Imams organise youth seminars for the male folks in particular, on the need to respect the female folks, such that they are not seen only as sex objects, for only amorous satisfaction purposes. Our legislators should propose and pass into law, stiff penalties, such as castration, and life imprisonment, for properly convicted proven rapists. Of course, ladies who act as accessories to or after the fact of rape, and ladies who provide enabling environment for rape (because you cannot rule this out) should also be subjected to such great penalties that will serve as deterrent to others. It is unthinkable and unacceptable to hear that those who are to be shepherds of God’s people would now turn round to be the predators and defiling agents. Rape is an aberration that should never be undertaken in the church or mosque. It should not be done by anyone. It should never be condoned, going by my opening statement.

‘Rapists Whether Or Not They Are Religious Clerics Should Be Disgraced Publicly’
(Alhaji (Amb.) Nasir Awhelebe Uhor, Rivers State Islamic Leader/Vice President General, Rivers State Council for Islamic Affairs)
IT was heinous enough that Miss Uwaila Omozuwa was raped in, of all places, a church! And murdered too! I simply wish there’s somewhere worse than Hell for the murderous fiends. How they got away with such crimes in such a place of worship beats the imagination. This is one case in which the law and its various agents must not be clay footed! That said, it is time the nation put its foot firmly down and dealt with this increasing fiendish pastime with all the gusto and harshness it can muster. It is not enough to wring our hands and moan about end-time criminality. The problem of increasing rape cases is interwovenly religious, political and economic. We are reaping the bitter harvest of the total, longtime breakdown of family bond anchored on strong moral values that aggregated to equally strong and cohesive societal moral values. Allah hates injustice in whatever guise. The vile criminals that raped and killed Miss Omozuwa, raped and murdered the entire billions of humanity on this planet earth. They have earned their auto-ticket to the very bottom of Hell. So also, other rapists whether they kill their victims or not, and whether or not they are religious clerics. Such clerics should promptly be de-robed, shown on television everyday for two weeks, and vilified on the radio. Thereafter, let’s see how they will go about parading themselves as clerics.

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