By Abiola Olaifa
I was born to a Christian father and a Muslim mother. My mum later converted to Christianity as our cultural belief is that any religion practised by the head of the house, is the religion for the family. My mum’s conversion to Christianity was without any troubles from her kinfolks since it was believed that we serve the same God. I have relations, friends and neighbours who are Muslims, we all co-habit and live in peace in the same neighbourhood, my mum’s Islamic background gave me a good knowledge of Islam and I can easily recite some of the quranic quotes. I did not for once doubt this religion as a religion of peace. We all live together in harmony, believing that we are serving the same God, but in different ways.
At Christmas, our Muslim friends and family visits my home, we have one or two Sheeps ready to go for the big Christmas celebration, we all eat, danced and partied together. The same is the case when it is time for the Muslim’s Sallah festival, we all gather in my Uncles, who already have their Rams ready for the slaughter, these are always exciting moments for us. We also enjoyed playing with and using the Rams for fights before they are slaughtered and these are great moment of excitement for us kids. We do not see ourselves as being religious enemies or opposite or unequal before God in whatsoever way. We were happy together and we often attend one Islamic lectures or the other in my uncle’s home from the Alfa’s that visit for prayers on weekends, this are equally very happy moments for us as we are sure that we will have some food to eat at the end of the prayer session.
The recent event is throwing this happy inter-religious relationship into the winds, not only am I getting worried about the latest developments, I am equally saddened by the appalling and heartless killings going on in Nigeria at the moment through suicide bombings. I have not been able to fathom the immediate reason for this, except accepting this as a sure sign of the end times. Does it mean that those practising Islam before are doing it the wrong way or a new version of Quran has just been invented which is very hostile to the opposite religion? If the Quran is still same one used by the Alfa’s in my uncle’s home, then we are in for a new inconceivable disaster.
The spokesperson for Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group recently claimed responsibility for the bombing of UN Building in Abuja, in a phone call to BBC. He claimed further that there are more than 100 recruits ready to carry out more suicide attacks in Nigeria, just after the country was thrown into panic on the 26th of August 2011. It broke my heart to hear that this act is being perpetrated because of God and the need to Islamise Nigeria. This group reason that killing innocent people is a sure way to achieve their aim of winning people to Islam. I beckon on these newly recruited bombers to be wary of the effect of these heinous attacks on our world and the psychic of the people, no one with his right senses will change to Islam if you continue with these activities. Violence has never been and will never be the right way.
I am confident that these killings are not for God, but purely to make political statement. It could not have been for God if you must shed human blood for sacrifice to the same God, who they ironically say also wants to save the world. I have believed based on teachings from the Alfa’s visiting my Uncle, my mother and personal discovery that God should be some humble-spirit, interested in saving the world and a comfort to those in trouble and that we pray to about our problems and he helps us through it. I am now beginning to have a change of mind, if these killers are saying they are committing all this crime in the name God and that God will make them martyrs if they are able to kill so much people, then this God must be different from the God I have previously known. This is a serious and dangerous consternation to my long held belief about Islam and I am absolutely startled.
I have many questions going on in my head that I sure need answers to; what do you aim to achieve by killing those you choose to convert. If the reason you give is to change the unbelievers to accept Islam, how would a dead person accept Islam? Must violence be the way to make your voice heard? Has God instructed you to carry out these unlawful killings or is this politically motivated? If this God makes you a Martyr as you claim, would you be happy by how many people your sect lands in hell through sudden death, since they have no time to repent of their sins. Why must you create so much fear and panic to the world to impress your views on others?
I am of the opinion that if God has ordered this killing as these suicide bombers claims and the same God is happy with what they are doing, then I do not want to be associated with this God. He must be a God with no human face and I dissociate myself from such heartless God. Also if you are perpetrating these evil acts out of the need to be made a martyr and have a place in Al-Jannah as you claim, then it’s a big shame, I equally do not want to be associated with such a materialistic religion.
I have a personal message for the over 100 suicide bombers still left in Nigeria as claimed by Boko Haram, who are ready to attack at any moment. Please stop and think for once, your next victims may be your brother or sister. Do not be deceived, you have no mansion and beautiful bride waiting for you in heaven, but hell. Sit back and think before you strike. It is not fair on the already volatile planet, there is so much panic and pain, and what joy do you get in that. I have spoken to many Muslims and confident that this killing is not Islamic, let us all hold tight and pray for these religious asinine to stop this unnecessary killings, they are not heroes at all as they believe, but criminals. The world now live in fear because of these extremist groups, let us pray for this evil acts to stop and for the perpetrators to be caught and brought to justice. Let us pray for the repose of the soul of the dead and for the peace of the world.