Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - The Boko Haram problem has military, economic and political aspects, but also a religious dimension that cannot be ignored. This is the core of the message of the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, and President of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) during a special prayer session last weekend organised by the same NSCIA at the Abuja National Mosque.
"Terrorism has no place in Islam…. said the Sultan of Sokoto", "We must rise up as always, with one voice to condemn all acts of terrorism, condemn those terrorists wherever they are and try our best as Muslims to ensure peace reigns in our community".
"I congratulate the Sultan for his bold statement", writes Cardinal Onaiyekan to Fides.
"This has given me the courage to voice out, with all good intention, a reflection that has been going through my own mind for some time now".
According to the Cardinal, the abduction of the over 250 school girls is no doubt very serious. But it is only a tragic symptom of the wider issue of terrorism, which needs to be addressed from the roots. The complexity of the problem calls for many sided approaches, military, but also political, economic and above all religious. The government must key this dimension into its strategies for a lasting solution to the problem. Government should abandon its tendency to close its eyes to the religious issues. Too little effort is being made in this direction.
According to Cardinal Onaiyekan one must go beyond statements of condemnation because, in his view, "there seems to be an urgent need for an in-house dialogue within the Nigerian Muslim community. Such a dialogue would make it possible to courageously and sincerely deal with currents and movements that create the kind of religious climate and atmosphere in which Boko Haram and similar groups emerge and thrive". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 28/05/2014)