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Terrorists Kill 32,000 Nigerian Muslims as MURIC counters US Lawmakers on Christian persecution

By Sulaimon Salau
07 August 2022   |   4:15 am
Statistics released by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has revealed that about 32,000 Muslims were killed by terrorists within three years in Nigeria.

Boko Haram<br />

Statistics released by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has revealed that about 32,000 Muslims were killed by terrorists within three years in Nigeria.
   
This figure, according to the Director, MURIC, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, indicated that more Muslims were being killed in Nigeria than Christians. He spoke last Thursday at a press conference held in Lagos.
 
Akintola therefore faults claims emanating from Christian leaders in Nigeria that Christians are the only ones being killed in the country.
 


Akintola, in reaction to the request by five US senators for Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, to re-designate Nigeria as a country of particular concern (CPC), said they are misled by false stories.
   
In December 2020, the US listed Nigeria among countries blacklisted for “violating religious freedom” under the CPC designation. However, in November 2021, Nigeria was removed from the list.
   
Citing the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State and the lynching of Deborah Samuel, a female student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, the senators wrote to Blinken, saying there is no “demonstrable improvement in the country’s religious freedom conditions.”
 

The senators who signed the letter are Josh Hawley, Marco Rubio, Mike Braun, James Inhofe, and Tom Cotton.
 
Irked by this development, Akintola accused the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) of claiming that only Christians are being killed in Nigeria and of lobbying US politicians until the five senators wrote to Blinken.
 
He said: “They exposed their bad intention towards their Muslim neighbours when they did not stop at lying within the boarders of Nigeria but went as far as the United States of America to pour venom on their compatriots and demarket their own country in a most unpatriotic and uncharitable manner.”
 
He said to claim that the federal government is failing to protect the religious freedom of Christian citizens is a “shameless attempt to upturn the facts of history,” adding that millions of Muslims have faced harassment in southern Nigeria.
 
“Boko Haram in particular has killed, maimed and displaced more Muslims than Christians, more Muslim clerics and more Muslim traditional rulers have been killed or kidnapped than Christians,” he said.
 
“Most importantly, more Muslim majority states are under siege by these terrorists than Christian majority states while more Nigerian Muslims have been impoverished by insecurity than Christians. Insecurity in Nigeria has had greater impact on Muslims more than Christians but our Christian neighbours are standing history on its head.
   
“The US should not encourage Nigerian Christians who are entangled in a cobweb of entitlement syndrome. Christian leaders are taking advantage of the precarious security situation in Nigeria which has been compounded by the Libya factor.”
   
Akintola challenged the US senators to provide the source of their claim that 4,000 Christians were killed in Nigeria as at 2021, adding that Christian leaders are simply capitalising on the enormity of the security challenge facing Nigeria.
   
“We are asking where this statistics came from. We are asking who counted the 4,650 dead bodies, where, when and how? While it is true that Nigeria has had serious security challenges in the past two years (2021 and 2022), it has been tough for all citizens. “Muslims, Christians and animists have faced daunting security challenges, but it is the Muslims in the North who have been killed the most and kidnapped in their hundreds.
   

“To claim that the Nigerian Government is failing to protect the religious freedom of its Christian citizens is a shameless attempt to upturn the facts of history. Millions of Muslims live under duress, intimidation and harassment in Southern Nigeria where Christian governors and government officials openly dehumanise Muslims and deprive them of their Allah-given fundamental human rights. 
   
“Female Muslim students are locked out of schools merely for manifesting their Islamic faith by using hijab. Eminently qualified Muslims are denied employment unless they converted to Christianity. Political appointments are anathema for Muslims in Southern Nigeria under Christian governors. 
 
“It must be noted that only one state has a Muslim governor out of the seventeen states in Southern Nigeria and Muslims live under religious apartheid in all the 16 states controlled by Christians. So, which government are the US senators referring to as violators of religious freedom? We assume that a critical, holistic and comprehensive assessment will be objective here. Selective appraisal will do justice and fairness no good.
   
“Those who speak of blasphemy laws also need to contextualise their assertion. Which blasphemy law and which government? Federal or state? Just like in the US, Nigerian states have their own legal peculiarities based on the heterogeneity of our polity. It will be unfair and even naïve of the US senators to judge the Federal Government of Nigeria by the actions or legislations of any of its states. Yet Christian leaders who take such reports to US politicians know the truth of the matter. They are just being deliberately malicious by not putting information in its proper perspective,” he stated.  
   
Akintola said the fact remains that 90 per cent of the victims of Boko Haram and ISWAP are Muslims and the operations of these terrorist groups are mainly restricted to the North where Muslims are in the majority. Therefore, Muslims constitute majority of the victims of violence in Nigeria. No data can dispute that even if it is from a satellite operating on Jupiter,” he said.
 
“Boko Haram killed 37,500 persons from 2015 to 2018. Of this figure, 32,000 were Muslims, while 5,500 were Christians. This means that 85 per cent of those killed were Muslims. Mosques have been bombed or burnt. Imams, Shaykhs and emirs have been abducted and killed. But CAN still wants to deceive the world by claiming that it is Christians alone who are being killed in Nigeria.

“The reason killing of Christians appears more pronounced is due to difference in burial culture. Nigerian Christians display bodies of their victims and may even delay their burial for days, if not months, while Muslims bury their victims almost immediately without any fuss. It is photo trick and camera magic that egg on emotions.
 
“Terrorists are destroying mosques and killing the Muslim worshippers inside in their hundreds. Yet Nigerian Christian leaders say only churches are being attacked. It is absolutely absurd and incomprehensible,” he said.
   
The MURIC director also referenced reports of Christians launching “premeditated and well-coordinated attacks on Muslims on several occasions” and mentioned several examples including attacks on Fulani herders in the South-East.
 
He cited a case whereby more than 200 Muslims were mercilessly massacred and their dead bodies eaten up in a cannibal feast in Jos, Plateau State on August 29, 2011, while Christian Jarawas and Sayawas killed more than 400 Hausa-Fulani Muslims in Tafawa Balewa, Bauchi State, between June and July, 2001. About 22,000 Muslims were displaced and till today, the Christians of Tafawa Balewa have not allowed a single Muslim to enter the city.
   
He also cited a situation whereby five buses loaded with Muslims returning to Ondo State were blockaded at Rukuba, Jos in Plateau State by the notorious Irigwe Christian militia group resulting in the killing of 22 innocent Muslims while 16 were seriously wounded, and many other cases.
 
He, however, said there are still good Christians in Nigeria and appealed to them to “disregard CAN’s false allegation and incitement.”

According to him, “attack on churches and mosques as well as schools, buses and trains explains the ‘crowd mentality’ of Nigerian terrorists’. They are attacking such places not for religious reasons but in order to kidnap as many people as possible for ransom. They are targeting places where people assemble in large number. When bandits stop a train or a vehicle, or when they enter a village, they don’t ask about anyone’s religion. They just pack as many people as they can conveniently take away.”
 


Akintola added that Nigerian Muslims do not support criminal groups. “They do not represent us. We reject them. True Muslims respect humanity. We are prepared to peacefully coexist with our Christian neighbours and we have done so for decades before the marauding Boko Haram gangs came barely fifteen years ago. They do not have our consent,” 
   
“We as Muslims are committed to peaceful coexistence but on the basis of equality and fairness, without intimidation or harassment and definitely without blackmail. We cherish human dignity and we have respect for human life,” he stated.
 
Last year, the President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, condemned the killing of a group of innocent Muslims who were returning from Bauchi to Akure, Ondo State.
 
Sultan re-emphasised that no human life deserves to be wasted on any ground be it religious or ethnic.
   
In another development, Sultan described the killing of Harira, her unborn child and four children as, “senseless and barbaric, maintaining that the recurring heartless and calamitous unprovoked killings and maiming in Anambra and other parts of the country are condemnable.”
 
Harira Jibrin and her four children were killed in Orumba North Local Council of Anambra State by gunmen.