LAGOS – Nigeria's faith communities are throwing their weight behind President Goodluck Jonathan’s assent to a parliamentary law banning same sex marriage in the West African country, dismissing opposition to the law as against the consensus of most Nigerians that same sex marriage is evil.
"By signing the bill into law, the president has allied himself with the collective yearnings of the Nigerian people, Muslims and Christians alike. It is the agreement of the faith community that homosexuality is against the nature and human survival," Muhammad Qasim, spokesman of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, told OnIslam.net.
|How Islam Views Homosexuality|
"So we salute the courage of the National Assembly and of course the president for siding with the people on this important issue. Nigeria has too many challenges to add another problem that gay marriage truly is. We stand by the president that he has done the wishes of the masses."
Nigeria's President Jonathan signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act into on January 7, 2014 barely one month after both arms of the country's parliament unanimously agreed on the legislation.
The new legislation, which tightens laws against homosexuals and ban same-sex marriages, applies across Nigeria, affecting all citizens.
It recommends 14-year sentence for anyone caught in the act and 10 years for anyone who aids homosexuality, including scholars or clerics who join two men in marriage.
The law also states that certificates of same sex marriage issued in foreign lands are invalid in Nigeria, and whatever benefits such illegal union confers on same-sex couples would be denied anywhere in Nigeria.
Kaamil Kalejaiye, president of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net that the group fully supports the president's actions.
"The act of same sex partnership is not just morally wrong but barbaric and inimical to the African culture," Kalejaiye said.
"None of the two dominant religions of the world support this terrible act. Marriage is a sacred contract between a man and a woman because it is a cornerstone of family life and the only institution with which to raise family."
Dismissing homosexuality as evil and a great sin, the MSSN chief said: "Homosexuality is one of the most disgusting sins and greatest crimes.
“It is a vile perversion that goes against sound nature and is one of the most corrupting and hideous sins, the punishment for homosexuality in Islam is death," he added.
Along with Muslim scholars, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), a powerful amalgam of Pentecostal churches across the country, has also hailed the President’s decision to sign the bill.
"We are impressed by the firmness of character with which the president dismissed the opposition to the law," PFN President, Felix Omobude, told OnIslam.net in a telephone interview.
“We are glad he signed the bill. That singular action has further earned him our respect.”
"Homosexual is against natural law. Beyond that, it is against our culture as Africans and it is against our understanding of the scripture. It is a bill all men of good conscience campaigned for.
“Those who are against it are better told that the law reflects the wishes of the majority of Nigerians, Christians, Muslims and even the traditionalists."
Similar opinion was shared by Muslim scholars saying that same-sex marriage as evil.
Speaking to onIslam.net, professor of Islamic Studies, Ishaq Lakin Akintola, commended the president for being on the same page with the "rest of Nigerians by signing the anti-gay bill into law.”
“Pervasive sexual life is absolutely un-Islamic and un-African and this explains why other African countries have stood their ground on the matter. It is also on record that both Christian and Muslim clerics and their leaders have vehemently expressed opposition to gay marriage," he added.
The fiery scholar dismissed the concerns of the western world and United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon as "utterly misplaced and regrettable."
In another statement on the subject, Akintola said:"We commend the Nigerian president for resisting pressure from Western powers and for boldly identifying with the cultural and religious yearning and aspiration of Nigerians. In the same vein, we condemn this meddling in the affairs of other nations.
"UN Secretary General’s fear that Nigeria’s anti-gay law would generate violence is misplaced. Ban Ki-Moon should not incite an infinitesimally small proportion of misguided Nigerians against the large majority of law-abiding citizens.”
Same-sex relationship and marriage are totally prohibited in Islam, Christianity and all divine religions.
Islam teaches that believers should neither do the obscene acts, nor in any way indulge in their propagation.
The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is not a sin, but considers homosexual intercourse as sinful.
In January 2012, Pope Benedict XVI said that same-sex marriage threatened "the future of humanity itself."
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