Adebisi Obafemi, MD, MPH.Monday, November 25, 2002
Ashburton, New Zealand


igeria Muslims and Moslems all over the world are indeed very happy with the way the faithfuls killed over 215 souls in Kaduna in the past few days. If you don't believe this assertion then you need to read an article on the Nigeriaworld website credited to Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo titled "The Fire ThisDay" He boasted that "nobody can ridicule Islam with impunity". He tacitly supported the Muslim faithful who killed and terrorised the innocent souls in Kaduna. The first time I read an article written by Abdulrazaque, I presumed that he is from the North and probably one of the very few literate Northerners who venture into e-journalism. He represents the view of educated Muslims whether from the North or South of Nigeria; you are free to kill and maim as long as you are doing it in the name of Allah and in defence of Islam.

Indeed this is the view of Muslims all over the world. Rushdie is an Iranian who acquired British nationality. He is now in hiding in Britain because of his book Satanic Verse. He has a death sentence dangling over him, not by a constituted court but by Ayatollah of Iran in defence of Allah and Islam. The faithfuls all over the world are on the look out for Rusdie to execute the judgement of Ayatollah on the behalf of Allah. A young Iranian University lecturer is awaiting death probably by stoning. His offence was daring to ask that Islam be interpreted and practised differently by different generations. Osama Bin Laden, and his lieutenants are killing innocent people with different religious belief in the name of Allah. Osama Bin Laden is a coward fighting a lost battle. He is a hero in the minds of Muslims all over the world. However he is fighting against a superior power and Allah is not helping him. People like Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo with tongue in cheek will come out openly to condemn what Osama bin Laden did in New York but in their backroom hail him as a hero.

Why should a group of weak, cowardly and wicked souls defend Allah? If Allah is great and all-powerful and Islam is his religion of choice he certainly is capable of defending himself. If Christians were like Moslems the whole world would have been turn into a huge ball of smoke. There is no religion or religious book that has been ridiculed, criticised, abused and maligned as Christianity and the bible, yet the value of the bible and Christianity has not diminished. "Hollywoods" and different satanic groups without anybody shedding an ounce of blood not to talk of loosing a life have portrayed Jesus in an ungodly manner on many occasions. The Christians hold Jesus in high esteem just as the Moslems hold Mohammed in high esteem. In this century we have not seen the Christians going on rampage, killing and maiming people in defence of Jesus or Christianity.

The truth is that we live in an age when people are free to express their view whether we agree or not. Millions of Muslims are living in the United States and Britain today, two of the greatest democracies in the world. Most of these Muslims including Nigerians are enjoying the benefits of democracy in these countries having fled their own countries for various reasons including economic, religious, and political persecution. Some of them have the temerity to complain about the culture in their host country but have no gut to go back to their country of birth. The writer of the ThisDay article that inspire the violence in the North of Nigeria may have offended the Muslims but has not done anything wrong against the law of the land. If religion react to every criticism or unguarded comments by killing the critics then nobody will be safe including the adherents of the religion.

A colleague from East Africa recently wondered aloud about the population of Moslems in Nigeria and how Moslems can just kill at will without any serious repercussions. She had erroneously thought that Nigeria Moslems are in the minority as it is the case in Kenya where she was born. The reason for her concern is not unconnected with the recent mayhem unleashed on Kaduna residents by Muslim Jihadists who think it is a their sacred duty to Allah to kill in defence of Allah and Prophet Mohammed. Of course I had to correct her about the population of Muslims in Nigeria. I also told her, how Islam spread into Northern Nigeria and North Africa through commerce, war (Jihad) and violence. Nigeria has the second largest population of Muslim in the world. Second only to Indonesia. Indonesia is a hotbed of terrorism and Nigeria is believed not to be too far behind

The image of Islam in the world needs to be repaired. It has been badly damaged by Moslem terrorists and Jihadists. It is not helped either by writers like Bello-Barkindo. I recently read an article about two Saudi Millionaire planning to set up a huge satellite TV studio to broadcast Islam to the West in order to correct the impression created in the mind of Westerners and in the world by Osama Bin Laden and his cohorts. They will be wasting their money; this money should be spent on educating the koranic teachers and Mullahs that Allah and Prophet Mohameed do not need fanatics to defend them. Killing and intimidation in the name of Allah in the 21st century will further drive people away from Islam.

Other religious groups can unleash violence on their critics if they so desire but they have chosen rather the honourable part of lawful means. Why is it the Moslems all the time not only in Nigeria but all over the world? If Islam is indeed a religion of peace, then Nigeria Moslems should give peace a chance. The purported reason for killing over 215 souls in Kaduna base on the comment in an article published in This Day Newspaper suggesting that Prophet Mohammed would have married one of the beauty queens who were in Nigeria then for the Miss World beauty pageant is not justified.

Adebisi Obafemi is a Consultant Physician at Ashburton Hospital, Ashburton, New Zealand