Daily Trust (Abuja)

22 June 2012

Nigeria: We Feel the Pains Inflicted on Christians - Muslim Leaders

Jos — Muslim leaders, who rose from a security forum organized by the Plateau State Police Command yesterday to deliberate on the Boko Haram threats to carry out fresh attacks in Plateau, said they are pained each time they hear of attacks on churches perceivably by members of the Boko Haram sect

"We are troubled each time there is an attack on any church and every mosque prays against Boko Haram because what they are doing is not Islamic as Islam views the killing of one person as the killing of humanity," a representative of the Jama'atu Nasril Islam (JNI) at the forum, Muazu Sani, said.

He said it was sad that although Muslims abhor violence and go out of their way to protect the Christians in their midst, Christians see Boko Haram as Islamic, a situation which, he said, needed to be corrected.

Muazu said: "We the entire Muslim community in Jos share the feeling of our Christian brothers in the state. We are also at pains over frequent attacks on churches, we weep anytime a church is attacked. We wish we had privileged information over any of the attacks; sincerely we will intimate our Christian brothers to take precautionary measures. Our Christian brothers should not think we Muslims in Jos are happy or are aware of planned attacks on churches."

Stressing that Muslims had also been victims of Boko Haram attacks, Muazu said, "at the inception of the Bokko Haram activities, we Muslims were even afraid of commenting on their activities because if you do that negatively they will mark you for attack. But in spite of that, all Muslims in the country have condemned the activities of Bokko Haram, they don't have religious backing because killing of human beings attracts severe punishment in Islamic religion".

He told Christians not to associate all Muslims with Boko Haram, adding, "we are saying this because, each time there is an attack on any church in Jos, any Muslim becomes an enemy of the Christian youths and they turn their anger on any Muslim they could lay their hands on. Hence we are appealing to our Christian brothers in this state to see us as their friends and co-citizens. We are not killers and we are not Bokko Haram as we are being perceived to be, our religion is against killing of fellow humans."

The Archbishop of the Anglican Diocess of Jos, Benjamin Kwashi, who addressed the unfortunate issue of reprisal killings following church bombings, expressed frustration with Christians who do not accept the preaching of their pastors against reprisal attacks.

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