By Bobson Gbinije
April 29, 2015
“Sweet are the uses of adversity, Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.”
– William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed
Creature, the feeling of a heartless world
And the soul of soulless circumstances. It is the opium of the people.”
– Karl Marx
Apodictic inviolability enshrines the Muslims sacrosanct fealty in the principles and practice of Islam. So much so that, the Koran, Mohammed and Allah constitute the hallowed and irrefragable basis on which his belief fulcrumises. Islamic scholars in their various dissertations agree that “Islamic Fundamentalism” connotes the universal absolutisation of Islamic doctrines as propounded and entrenched in the Koran as a format for governance. A form of Muslim theocracy based on Mohammedanism, Sharia and traces of Uthman Dan Fodio’s Jihad.
The recrudescence of renascent Islamic fundamentalism as a 21st century phenomenon is traceable to Rohullah Ayatollah Khomeni of Iran – who fine-tuned the logistics, perfected the strategies and coordinated its motif, action and concept as a global, political, economic, cultural, religious and social power-seeking machinery – an avid desire to entrench world power into the hands of Muslims.
Its methodology of spread entails force, political parties (Democratic format), lobbying, bankrolling some terrorist organisations, channeling propaganda programmes through the social/electronic media and systematic indoctrination. Its proponents are members of regional, sub regional bodies and world organisations, namely – D.8, Organisation of Islamic Conference (O.I.C), Organisation of African Unity (O.A.U), Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (O.P.E.C), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Asian and Arab Organisations, Economic Cartels and even the United Nations.
Befuddled by multitudinous sects, the concept of “Islamic Fundamentalism” has become so many things to so many Moslems depending also on the oscillatory swing of the religious pendulum and on what plinth you stand. The Quadiriya brotherhood, Tijaniya brotherhood, Shiite, Sunni, Al qaelda, Al shabbah, Boko Haram, State of Islam in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Mujahaddin Moslems etc. are some of the known brotherhoods or sects.
Religious extremism has been condemned as “un-Islamic” by the more moderate Moslems. But the Quran admonishes that “unto whom battle is declared, permission is granted by Allah to fight back, because he is oppressed.” Most scholars adjudge that the wrong interpretation of this prudential injunction is the cause of extremism in most sects. They further warn that Islam does not harbour violence and controversy. The Quran says in Sura 5 Ayat 76 “Do not transgress the bounds of your religion unjustly. Do not yield to the desire of those who have already erred, who have led many astray and have themselves astrayed from the straight path.”
This is further supported by Sura 22 Ayat 1 “Some wrangle about Allah, though they have neither knowledge or guidance nor an illuminating book. He who bends his side in scorn to lead others astray from Allah’s path, for him is disgrace in this life and shall taste the torment of hell on the day of resurrection.”
The Holy Quran is prodigiously replete with citations, Suras and Ayats warning against vain-gloriousness, violence, hypocrisy and all the terrible vices and the undue quest for political empowerment which some so-called leaders of Islam are pursing through Islamisation, Sharia, wanton Jihadism, fatwa, horrendous monstrosity against non-moslems and so-called infidels. The degree of Islamist insurgences and sanguinary bloodletting in Kenya at the Garissa University, shopping mall in Kenya, Borno, Yobe, Benue states etc. in Nigeria, the beheading of Ethiopian Christians in Libya, the drowning in the Mediterranean sea of 15 Christians from Nigeria and Ghana, the 9/11 tragedy in America, the London bombings, the Serial unrest and religious imbroglio in the Middle East, North Africa and some nooks and crannies of our world shows that Islamic fundamentalism and the spread by force/militancy of Islam has become the most predatory global plague of the 21st century.
The dynamics of change entails the amalgam of techniques that ensures definite but controlled change, which, if super-imposed into a system or institution with a different aggregate of speed in the change channel, it might lead to a conflagration and escalation ally disproportionate change. By co-extensive reasoning “Islamic fundamentalism” cannot be truly fundamentalistic in countries or states that have strong pluralistic religious and political base except by force.
That uncontrolled desire to spread and make Islam the superior and only religion worthy of practice and the belief that Moslems should be at head of governments and should remain a religious cum political ideology is the root cause of Islamic fundamentalism. Most religions of the world especially Christianity have suffered from the same fate. That desire to use religion as a political ideology to gain power. The Catholics as their name implies tried through their religion to universalize their faith. The “Crusaders” in the middle ages made military expeditions to recover so called Holy Lands and remember the Spanish Inquisition etc.
The propagation of Islam is not the desire of the fundamentalist, it is to use the Koran as a political tool consistent with the words of Mahatma Grandi “Politics divorced from religion is absolutely meaningless, like corpse fit only for cremation.” It’s aggressive, underhand tactics and gains has made it an open-ended omnibus and many unwary countries are jumping in. Nigeria Moslems have been surreptitiously hobnobbing with these fundamentalist.
Given the present political scenario in the world where America has become the only singular superpower and the unilateral policeman of the world festooned with veto powers and great armamental reservoirs the need for Islamic hegemonism has become fundamentally crucial to all Moslems. Moslems and Moslem countries are therefore in a grand alliance in asserting their relevance in the scheme of things through the enforcement of Sharia laws. But they should re-tailor their style to take due cognizance of and respect for other interests.
Nigeria as a nation remains a melting-pot sustained by various divergent interests fighting to assert themselves over the other, the military, the politicians, the religious bodies, traditional institutions etc. and the need for harnessing this pot-purri of multitudinous interest becomes critically crucial. The subterranean and clandestine declaration of Nigeria as a member of Islamic organisations without due recourse to the secular and pluralistic nature of our country, smacks of the wanton betrayal of our ‘NATIONHOOD’. It is an unmistakable confirmation of our suspicion that Nigeria is on the track to becoming an “Islamic fundamentalist” country. As reflected in Boko Harams’ massacres.
The calculated stratagem of hob-nobbing with Islamic fundamentalism as a religious cum political ideology calculated to empower Moslems using military and political surrogates as fronts is fraught with baneful consequences. In seeking to fulfil their tall dreams let them heed the words of Thomas Jefferson “The great principles of right and wrong are legible to every reader; to pursue them require not the aid of many counsellors. The whole art of government consist in the art of being honest. Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail. No longer persevere in sacrificing the rights of one part of the empire to the inordinate desires of another; but deal out to all equal and impartial right. Let no act, be passed by any one legislature which may infringe on the rights and liberties of another.”
The horrific state of atrocities and the ghoulishly horrendous acts of murder being unlashed on the innocent citizens of “Algeria” by Islamic militants, the nightmarish mayhem into which Christians in Kaduna state, Zamfara state and Niger state are submerged are some examples of the evil manifestations of Islamic fundamentalism. They abound all over the world and they abhor dialogue as a formidable tool of crisis resolution. They have neither the Quran nor any moral Islamic law to back their belligerent proclivities, but just a clear-cut desire to idolize the Islamic religion by superimposing the politics of violence and the Sharia.
In the Sudan, the military-Islamic repressive regime of Omar Bashir has plunged Sudan into over 16 years of civil war. His wanton declaration of Holy war – a Jihad against his own people to enable him impose the “Islamic law” has precipitated a state of political torpsy-turvydom in the Sudan. His “Islamic agenda” was challenged by a pluralistic society which led to the balkanization of Sudan. Karl Marx avers that “Religion is the opium of the people”, but it is best when left as an individual thing. The story is the same everywhere. Wherever there is a belief in the consummate islamisation of a nation there must be a resistance. In Afghanistan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Algeria, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan and Malaysia the story is the same. Nigeria is the largest entrant into this macabre and gory religious dance.
Inter and intra Islamic extremism and fanaticism flagshipped by doctrinal differences and fallacies has violence its aftermath. This kind of violence by Islamic militants has become a common feature in Nigeria. In December 18, 1980 Kano municipality was engulfed in a bloody civil disorder that dislocated and virtually brought its economic life to a standstill. Consequently, the then President Shehu Shagari by an instrument executed on 5th January, 1980 and published in the Federal Republic of Nigeria official gazette, No 2 volume 65 dated 8th January, 1981 as G.I. No. 3 of 1981, at pages B4 and B5, the then President constituted a “Tribunal of Inquiry Act of 1966” to look into the said disturbances in Kano with HonourableJustice Anthony Aniagolu OFR as Chairman.
The tribunal later revealed that the riot was fomented by one MohammaduMarwaalias Maitasine, who started his religious terror in Nigeria in 1952. It also mentioned the activities of Ibrahim EL ZAK ZAKY for his role in fomenting Moslem Students Society (MSS) riot in 1970 at Ahmadu Bello University. The catalogue of woes which ‘Maitasine’ and EL ZAK ZAKY has unleashed on Moslems and non-Moslems alike are too well known to be mentioned.
Let me quote profusely from the booklet titled “Report of the Tribunal of Enquire on Kano disturbances” from page 91 – Recommendations 346 and 347 talking about antidotes to religious extremism “Government must reffrain totally from exhibiting any attitude of special patronage or show of preference or favour to any particular religious groups or leaders. They also have a duty to ensure an even and fair distribution of the nation’s media resources to enable all shades of accredited religious opinions wishing to reach the people to do so provided that they conform to existing regulations.”
Still on palliatives to extremism it goes on to say “so many work is yet to be done to educate the public on the need for tolerance and co-existence in plural and non-secular society such as Nigeria. That we are part and parcel of a changing world and that the process is a continuing one from which fresh challenges will emanate from time to time and must be contained with reason and the laws of the land. Maitasine has departed from the religious conflict after falling victim to the virus of intolerance which he typified and gave expression to by violent reactions, kidnapping and slaughtering of innocent human beings. He even turned himself into fake “prophet” and in so doing desecrated all the goodness and reverence that Islam stands for.”
The unconstitutional and forceful introduction of Sharia in some Northern states precipitated a teratoid carnage. The violence in Kaduna state came to a head because of the mutant inability, administrative senescence and sardonic lethargy of government. The conduct of the religious leaders on both sides (Christians and Moslems) remains till date reprehensibly indictable. The Sharia acted as a catalyst to the Boko Harams’ type of Islamist insurgency that has become the bane of our inchoate democracy in Nigeria.
The consequences in both long and short term on the Nigerian Nation are going to be dreadfully wanton. The Nigerian government must apply all constitutional and military means to quell and forestall this “BOKO HARAM INSURGENCY.” It must be made glaringly clear to all Christians and Moslems alike, that Nigeria is a “SECULAR NATION” and all the excesses of religious groups must be decisively confronted head-on. Why did the Kaduna State police grant marching permit to the Moslems and the Christians? Why did the Kaduna state government not condemn the initial march permit granted the Moslems? This was what stimulated the response by the Christians.
The political empowerment of the Moslems can only be perfected in a military setting (where they dominate), hence their profound and consuming desire to make Nigeria ungovernable through the unconstitutional and undemocratic introduction of Boko Haramism. This, they believe will stimulate the reappearance of the military, thereby enhancing their political empowerment. But Woodrow Wilson warned in 1917 that “we must protect democracy by all means.” The ball is in the court of every Nigerian.
It is a monumental disgrace and shame that Christians and Moslems who claim to be children of Allah or the Almighty God are locked in this orgy of violence in Nigeria. Where lies the principles of their faith. They henceforth have no locus standi to assert their holiness. They must in keeping with their faith reconcile themselves. We are told that both and all religions are foundationed on the superstructure of LOVE. Where is love in Islamism and in Christianity?
Islamist insurgency is taking a serpentine spread across our world. There is indeed, a global genocide being unleashed on the world and all institutional peace agencies like the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), ASEAN, OAS, ECOWAS, OPEC, Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), World Christian Organization etc. must urgently come together to map out strategies to forestall this monster of religious extremism by global collective action. The poet Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) said that “One hour of life, crowned to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum.”
Finally, I profoundly agree with Honourable Justice Anthony Aniagolu tribunal’s recommendation, but only to add that, the sociology of religion glaringly shows that religion has lost its original commission and injunction – “Universal brotherhood through love.” Men now worship themselves, money and power, and that is the political mission and drive of “Islamic Fundamentalism.” Whatever guise it takes in its quest for political empowerment it should respect the interest of others and shun violence.