More than 321 deaths have been reported in the multiple bombing of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka during the Easter holidays. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an extremist group, has allegedly claimed responsibility for the attacks.
In a related development, a Nigerian human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has rejected the extremist group’s ideology of revenge. This was made known in a statement signed by its Founder and Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Monday 29th April, 2019.
“For the umpteenth time, we reiterate our condemnation of terrorism and all forms of violence as a means of seeking redress. Violence is a square peg while peace is a round hole. Seekers of justice must not resort to violence lest they err. Neither can avengers have peace of mind because revenge, by its very nature, is a vicious cycle. The solution to the world’s problems lies in dialogue, mutual respect, tolerance, forgiveness and love.
“We reject religious demagogues who instruct us to kill people of other faiths. We debunk the parochial philosophy of merchants of death who tell us to kill Westerners. We assert clearly, categorically and unequivocally that Islam is a religion of peace, not a creed of violence. Islam gives life, not death. It gives hope, not suicide-motivating frustration. Islam promotes co-existence among the various components of humanity regardless of their religious leanings.
“We further contend that as an integral part of compos mentis homo sapiens, Muslims have no right to kill any follower of other faiths any more than members of other faiths have any right to kill Muslims. To believe otherwise is to succumb to the Hobbesian theory of nature where man is seen as a selfish and dangerous brute. This is what the killers in New Zealand and Sri Lanka have done. They have become unsolicited ideologues of the Darwinian theory of survival of the fittest.
“Contrary to this barbaric mentality, Islam invites mankind to rational thinking and respect for human life. The Glorious Qur’an forbids the shedding of human blood (5:161). It compares a man who kills a single person to one who destroyed the whole of humanity while another who saves a single life is compared to one who gave life to all mankind (5:32).
The Glorious Qur’an has also rubbished the rationale for the vengeful killings in New Zealand and Sri Lanka by describing goodness and evil as incomparable and by commanding Muslims to repay evil with goodness (41:34). Nothing in the teachings and actions of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) encourages tit-for-tat.
“The Prophet said, ‘Do not engage in violence. Embrace peace’. At the point of victory, he forbade the killing of those who had killed Muslims. He decreed that all those who had subjected Muslims to torture, harassment and intimidation in Makkah should be forgiven.
To conclude this advocacy of non-vengeance, we appeal to all individuals and groups engaging in violence to embrace peace. We charge all believers in the Supreme Creator to learn to respect the sanctity of life, to court the art of forgiveness and to woo the value of tolerance. But above all, we invite the West to give world peace a vital shot in the arm by halting its pro-Israel and anti-Muslim agendum and to desist from its tortuous policy of divide et impera. We urge Nigerians to promote peace, to forgive, tolerate and love one another”.