The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, is one of the most powerful figure in the country, and highly revered by Nigeria’s Muslim community. For someone so highly placed in the Muslim community, it’s hard to talk about Islamization without bringing him into the picture.
For all who know Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar, he isn’t the loquacious type like the director of MURIC. Not until recently, of course.
Sultan Abubakar seem to have been restless since the inclusion of Nigeria into the United States’ Special Watch List over violations of religious freedom. He has since been making news headlines on almost regular basis, in defense of Islam, as though the US specifically blacklisted the religion.
In a recent statement by the Sultan at the opening of the 34th National Qur’an Recitation Competition organized by the Musabaqah Foundation for Quranic Recitation in Nigeria/Centre for Islamic Studies, Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto in collaboration with the Muslim Community of Lagos State, he said the issues of religion is not well handled in the country, and that Muslims are portrayed as bad people who go about killing innocent people.
While saying Muslims are generally good people except a handful of bad apples which he said is not peculiar to Islam alone, he however, suggested the likelihood of Muslims picking up arms should the need arises.
The Sultan’s remarks were coming in the wake of a recent disagreement between NSCIA and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over the United States Department of State report listing Nigeria among countries that failed religious tolerance test.
CAN had backed the US report, saying Christians are being persecuted in the country but Sultan insists nothing of such exists, stressing that not all Fulani herdsmen are Muslims and they were not after the Christians as insinuated by CAN.
“And I want to assure you that no Muslim would be provoked into taking up arms against anybody based on what you have been seeing in the media particularly of recent. These are issues we need to tackle; these are issues the various governments at all levels need to tackle by sitting down and talking to one another because making public comments don’t normally help.
“They aggravate situations. And I want to assure all, everything is right with us. The Muslims in Nigeria are very good people. We will continue to do the best. But among all good people, there are also bad people and we know there are bad people among all societies.”
“We must work with the Qur’an and Insha Allah as Muslims in this country we would continue to work with the Qur’an. We would continue to uphold Qur’anic injunctions and obey our leaders who Almighty Allah has placed on us,” he said.