The Muslim Solidarity Forum has asked the bishop of the Catholic diocese of Sokoto, Mathew Kukah, to tender an apology to the Muslim faithful over his recent “malicious comments” against Islam or quietly and quickly leave the state.
The threat comes barely 24 hours after Buship Kukah accused the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), the umbrella body of Muslim groups, of inciting violence against him over his Christmas message.
The cleric had in the Christmass message accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of not living up to expectation due to mounting economic and security challenges confronting the nation.
He said Buhari was “institutionalising northern hegemony against national interests,” adding that if a President from the south and non-Muslim extraction had done a fraction of that, he would have been removed from office via coup de tat.
The cleric, who later said he was misquoted in the portion of the message about coup, maintained that that “he is more interested in how religion can be used to foster unity.”
Reacting during a press conference on Tuesday, the acting chairman of the Muslim Forum, Professor Isa Muhammad Maishanu stated that Kukah’s statements could break the the peaceful coexistence among the religious faithful in the country.
The forum wondered “how Kukah, who lives peacefully and comfortably in the heart of the Sokoto Caliphate, can make such a callous and senseless statement”.
The group said while it does not speak for Buhari, Bishop Kukah’s reference to the president’s religion is an attack on all Muslims.
“Our intention at Muslim Solidarity Forum is not to hold brief for the President, as he has those who are paid to do that; instead, our concern is the image and reputation of Muslims, which Mr Kukah finds pleasure in attacking without an iota of caution, and by referring to him [the president] as a Muslim, that automatically brings all Muslims [into] the issue,” Maishanu said.
“The Bishop has a penchant for speaking in parables and innuendos. His reference to a people who possess ‘a pool of violence to draw from’ no doubt is a reference to those he has always characterised with violence – the Muslims. This is a serious provocation.
“He even has the guts to say the killings we are witnessing in Nigeria are part of a grand religious design! Religious? Who are the victims of the killings? What religion do they profess? Is it not a fact that over 90 per cent of those being killed are Muslims? Who is behind the so-called design?
“Kukah who lives peacefully and happily at the centre of the seat of the caliphate for almost a decade now, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of the city that is founded on the teachings of Islam and benefitting from the goodwill of Muslim leaders right from childhood and up to this moment could not see anything good to appreciate in his Muslim hosts or their religion, to disparage them.
“Rather, he is always using provocative and uncouth language. His callous statements and acts of hatred is unbecoming of someone who parades himself a secretary to the National Peace Committee and a member of Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC).
“As such, we call on Kukah to immediately stop his malicious vituperations against Islam and Muslims and tender unreserved apology to the Muslim Ummah or else quickly and quietly leave the seat of the Caliphate, as he is trying to break the age-long peaceful coexistence between the predominantly Muslim population and their Christian guests.”
Maishanu noted that Muslim leaders out of magnanimity, shown goodwill to the bishop, adding that he was taking their kindness for granted.
To Kukah, the Acting MSF chairman said: “We call on him to act as Bible commands ‘seek ye truth and it shall set you free’, by embracing the pristine monotheistic teachings of Jesus, son of Maryas, finally revealed by Allah the Almighty Lord, through the last Prophet,Muhammad.”
KanyiDaily recalls that Bishop Kukah had also lamented that citizens of some countries were willing to risk their lives for their nations, but such is not the case in Nigeria.