The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has condemned the Friday terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, by Australian citizen, Brenton Tarrant.
The organisation, an umbrella for Muslims in the country, in a statement issued on Monday and signed by its Deputy Secretary-General, Salisu Shehu, a professor, blamed the increasing spate of killings of Muslims across the world on what it described as "corrosive anti-Muslim rhetoric and bigoted media reportage."
The statement, however, commended New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden, "for calling the attack what it was, "a terrorist attack", and for the efforts being made by her and her government to engage the Muslim community in this sorrowful period."
The Council calls on other world leaders to emulate Ms Arden at such times, saying her prompt and bold response is an example of leadership that is lacking in many world leaders. "The Council also acknowledges the solidarity of the Christchurch community and the good citizens of New Zealand."
The statement further reads; "In the terrible attack that was unprecedented in the annals of the country, at least 50 Muslim worshippers across various nationalities were gunned down while more than 40 others sustained various degrees of injury.
"While many right-thinking people and governments across the world have expressed outrage at such a heinous crime and mass murder of various nationalities, there are those whose hearts are blotted by hatred and bigotry to the extent that every crime against Muslims is welcome. A typical example is the Australian Senator, Fraser Anning, who still blamed Muslims for being attacked!
"The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) under the leadership of its President-General, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, strongly condemns this brazen act of terrorism on the defenseless Muslim worshippers in Christchurch.
"The Council also totally condemns the enabling environment created by racists, supremacists and left-wing extremists that allows Islamophobia to fester all over the world."
The organisation listed similar killings of innocent Muslims to include an Imam and his associate killed in the US in August 2016; murder of six Muslims at a Quebec City Mosque, in Canada, in 2017, and the killing of a 58-year old Muslim after a night prayer in London in June 2017.
"In all those attacks and others, the religious identities of the perpetrators have always been downplayed because they were Christians. But if a criminal who happens to bear a Muslim name is involved in a crime, his religion would be dragged into it. It is such double standards and other injustices that serve as enablers of the current state of the world where victims are conveniently branded aggressors and mass murderers are labelled gunmen," the statement added.
It urged Muslims in Nigeria and across the world to remain calm, patient and prayerful, and (prayed) to God to admit those who lost their lives to the attack, to paradise.