CAIRO – The abduction of a Nigerian popular salafi scholar who teaches Islamic and Arabic lessons and his wife has raised alarms among the country’s Muslim leaders, accusing suspected government agents of being behind their disappearance.
"The Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, charges Nigerian security agents to produce the Islamic scholar and his wife whose abduction has started creating tension among Muslims in the whole South West,” Ishaq Akintola, the president of MURIC, said in a statement cited by Premium Times.
“We remind the security agents that nothing warrants such night invasion since there is no state of emergency in the region," the statement stated.
According to the paper, Islamic scholar, Ustadh Abdul Ganiy Jumah, and his wife, Shakirah were seized at gun point from their home at Fagbemi Street, Off Ntabo Bus Stop, Ijoko, near Sango in Ado, Odo Ota Local Government of Ogun State.
Jumah is a very popular Muslim salafi scholar who teaches Islamic and Arabic lessons and gives lectures on contemporary issues to the mostly working class in the environs.
"He presides over our usrah (family) sessions," Bashir Adefaka, a journalist and follower of the scholar, told Anadolu Agency.
"His recordings are there for all to listen to. There is nothing in his preaching to suggest he poses any danger to anyone or the state," he added.
No one claimed responsibility for the abduction while spokesperson for the Ogun State Police Command, Muyiwa Adejobi, denied knowledge of the incident.
Nigeria, one of the world's most religiously committed nations, is divided between a Muslim north and a Christian south.
Muslims and Christians, who constitute 55 and 40 percent of Nigeria's 140 million population respectively, have lived in peace for the most part.
Scholar Jumah is not the first Muslim scholar to be abducted in Nigeria.
Three years ago a prominent Muslim figure, Razaq Gawat, disappeared without a trace, fuelling an atmosphere of anxiety among Muslims, especially in the southwest.
According to MURIC, another Lagos-based Islamic scholar also disappeared last week.
Crackdown on Scholars
Voicing concern over the disappearance of the prominent Muslim scholar, MURIC’s Akintola accused the government of standing behind the abductions.
"We suspect that this may be the beginning of a crackdown on scholars of Islam in Yorubaland in particular and the whole Southern Nigeria in general as part of the silent war on Islam in Western-dominated parts of the world," Akintola said.
"It is on record that millions of Muslims were killed in former Yugoslavia in the 90s. Muslims in Myanmar (formerly Burma) were burned in public and their homes destroyed in 2013.
“Anti-Balaka Christian militants also recently hunted down, slaughtered or roasted hundreds of Muslims in the Central African Republic. In July this year, China banned fasting among Muslims. A blind, intolerant and anti-Muslim climate pervades the globe," the group said.
"Yet while everybody is talking about peace, nobody is talking about justice. MURIC reminds Nigerian authorities that justice is the soul of peace. The same natural law of justice which stipulates that nobody can eat his cake and have it provides that nobody can deny one (justice) and still enjoy the other (peace)."
The leader of the Muslim group has also raised suspicions that the killing of Muslims by Nigeria's Boko Haram could be an orchestrated campaign being waged by unscrupulous elements in disguise with the aim of drastically reducing the population of Muslims in the country.
"We alert the Ogun State Government to this dangerous development. We appeal to Ogun State House of Assembly and the National Assembly to wade into the matter,” Akintola said.
“The people's representatives must show concern when innocent citizens start disappearing. Meanwhile we call on Muslims throughout the country to remain calm and law-abiding."
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