In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Press Release: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thur 23 February, 2006
MPAC Condemns The Barbaric Execution Of Muslims In Onitsha
MPAC condemns the barbaric execution of Muslims residing in Onitsha , Anambra State, the burning of their corpses as well as the destruction of mosques. The cult of hatred against Islam and Muslims is manifested in these barbaric acts where innocent peaceful civilians can be randomly selected for public execution.. The unjustifiable attacks, which constitute a violent shock for the nation, must be explicitly and unreservedly condemned by all people who are repulsed by the heartless butchering of men, women and children who came to live in the city to pursue their livelihood.
The attacks on the human lives and violation of the sanctity of places of worship unmistakably are acts of terrorism, an attack against humanity. Unfortunately, the hate cultists in Onitsha who have so far killed more than 93 Muslims claim that they are seeking revenge for the killings of Christians in the North in undergoing the barbaric act. This dangerous claim furthers our stance that taking immoral, short-sighted and evil actions to express angers, with little regard to the law, are both dangerous and unacceptable. MPAC condemns the killing of people and exploitation issues, regardless of the perpetrators and their justifications. As gruesome and condemnable as the homicides in Borno State was, no excuse or justification is possible for the current violent attacks and the orgy of violence that have engulfed Onitsha in the past days. The people who carry out these cold-blooded executions are evil people who are only disingenuously using different occasions as an excuse to break law and terrorize the whole nation.
MPAC believes that all people who carry out all pre-meditated murder of innocent people based on their ethnicity or religion are evil members of our society that must be exposed as merciless criminals and terrorists. These people must be dealt with to the full extent of the law. In Islam, the use of terrorism is unacceptable for any purpose. Any individual or group that claims that the use of violence to achieve political purposes, that killing civilians or violating the sanctity of places of worship and destroying public properties serve as a redress for legitimate grievances is dreadfully mistaken. In Islam such behaviour is deemed a major sin. Anger or rage cannot be a valid justification for ignoring these most basic principles of our religion, as stated in the Qur'an ; "O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to Piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do" (Al-Maidah, verse 8).
MPAC calls on Muslims to show both patience and restraint at this difficult period, and to reject any act that is capable of reinforcing existing stereotypes. MPAC also calls on the Nigerian Federal and State authorities, more than ever before, to look for sustainable solutions that will increase the capacity of our institutions to protect all Nigerians wherever they choose to live in the country. The Nigerian authorities have failed to successfully bring anyone to book in respect to past incidents, which has served as a major incentive for the current perpetrators. It seems politics is more important that preserving the sanctity of human lives, creating order in the society and law enforcement. The enormous human losses that we have seen as a result of many crises in the country is a constant reminder that our law enforcement and the intelligence service community are not capable, nor prepared, to deal with these challenges once and for all. Similarly, we call on faith and community leaders to preach and emphasize the message of peace and tolerance from the Mimbhar and from the Pulpit. To desist from utterances and actions which are against the tenets of their religions and are capable of crippling our nation.
All practitioners of religions, which preach sublime qualities of peace and zero-tolerance for violence, must practice what their religions preach. Religious and political leaders must speak out whenever a house of worship is threatened and against bigotry that can prompt such threats. MPAC urges media discretion in reporting the incidents in a way that can incite further violence or escalate the situation.
MPAC prays for the dead victims of the brutal attacks, their families and our nation which is at a crossroads of endless conflict, mutual enmity, increased hatred and conciliation, respect, reason and peace. We pray for the Muslim community in the affected region which presently feels under siege and are in confusion.
Director of Media & Communications
Muslim Public Affairs Centre, MPAC