The Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, Thursday joined issues with opponents of Islamic banking, asking why Islam is being portrayed in bad light in the country.
He said there was no going back on the establishment of Islamic banks in the country, further expressing worries about the violence in the North-east.
He said: “So many people have said so many things about Islamic banking. Why is it that whenever anything Islamic is mentioned, those who are not Muslims kick against it? That is what we need to ask ourselves here. Is the word Islam bad? Why is it that when anything Muslim is mentioned, it is equated with violence?”
The Sultan challenged members of the JNI to spend time on soul-searching over the issues with a poser: “Why is it that anybody who is not a Muslim is afraid of [religion of] peace?”“We have to ask ourselves that question and we have to come out with a solution because I have asked myself many times, but I can’t get an answer because I know what Islam is. Islam is a religion of peace,” he said.
He expressed regret over the Boko Haram insurgency, but warned that the menace cannot be stopped by the use of force or violence.
He tasked the government to seek the cause of the violence, because, according to him, Boko Haram is not entirely responsible for all the violence in the area.
“We have to ask ourselves questions on who are the members of the Boko Haram? What are they fighting for? If they are known, then which is the best way to solve that problem? That problem can never be solved by violence. That problem can never be solved by drafting soldiers into cities where there is problem and in the process innocent lives were lost.
“We cannot solve violence with violence. If we can solve violence with violence ask Americans… they went into Iraq to remove Saddam Hussain and they have removed him, is there peace in Iraq up till now? Is there peace in Palestine up till now? With all the fight, where Israelis have been killing Palestinian youths and children, is there peace? So in whatever you do you must come back to the negotiating table and discuss issues and agree.
So we don’t agree to violence, we don’t believe in violence. I want to call on every Muslim here and outside, let us not take laws into our hands.
“We can take issues up and be successful without taking up arms because even wars are fought to make peace so if you can make peace without fighting war, why not go for that.
“You have taken note of what I said about violence in the North-east; I did not mention Boko Haram because most of the violence is not caused by Boko Haram.
“So we have to ask ourselves why there is violence in the North-east? Those who cause the violence, who are they? The government must fish them out and say look, we know you are the cause of this thing from day one. This thing did not start today.
“So stop equating any violence with Boko Haram. Who are the members of Boko Haram? They were extra-judiciously killed? What happened to those who killed them? They (those who killed them) were even asking for bail.
“I know in criminal justice system, you don’t bail anybody who is charged with murder. So we have done the real talk with the authorities and we are getting a head way and I want to assure the Muslim Ummah that we will not relent until we get justice done on any issue affecting the Muslims in this country.
“We will not waver and we will not succumb to any intimidation or blackmail from anybody but as our religion teaches us, we will take issues in peaceful manner,” the Sultan said.
He also said Muslims would not succumb to any intimidation or blackmail from anybody and decried the manner in which non-Muslims often try to stop Muslims from living their way of life.
He asked: “What is there to be afraid of in Islam? If Muslims want a particular way of life as Muslims, why should anybody try to stop them? But if it is the other way round it is good, but if it is for Muslims, it is bad! So these are challenges to us.
“We don’t have to be violent in giving responses, but if we have taken note, I have not said a single word on these two issues. But we have done much, much more than anybody else could have done to get the answers, but we are on our way and non-interest banking has come to stay, so we don’t have to fight.
“That is why we should not talk of violence. Violence begets violence and once violence is meted out on people, so many innocent people suffer and that is what happened in 2011 elections and that is what has happened in the north east.
“If I believe you are wrong, I should leave you with your wrong. If you start fighting, then there won’t be any difference because the two of you will be seen to be wrong and that is what has been happening and that is why I refuse to make open comments on all these issues, but I will make so much comments to the relevance authorities that matter, and I want to assure you that we will not weaver and will continue to pursue what we believe is good for Muslims and Islam in this country and we will get to the Promised Land.”