The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has stated that it has no issues with the agitation by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for the creation of Ecclesiastical courts as long as Muslims are not dragged there.
MURIC made this assertion on Wednesday via its Director, Ishaq Akintola.
The Bauchi State chapter of CAN urged the Federal Government to establish Ecclesiastical courts for Christians, equivalent to the Sharia court for Muslims.
According to CAN, this would facilitate the resolution of dispute amongst Christians, especially domestic and civil issues.
Reacting, Akintola described the request from CAN as fair.
The director said: “Christians are free to demand their own courts so long as Muslims are not to be dragged to such courts.
“We know Christians already have Christian law in the country. We could have opposed their new demand but we do not have to be petty.
“Let them have as many Christian courts as they wish.
According to the statement, all courts in Nigeria are Christian courts because they originate from the common law introduced by the British in the colonial days.
The statement said: “The Bauchi chapter of CAN cannot tell us that there are no Magistrate courts, High Courts and a Court of Appeal in the whole of Bauchi? Now, what are those courts? Are they not Christian courts?
“But we want Nigerians to know that Christians already have Christian law in the country because the common law which we have been using since colonial days to date is Christian law.
“Our contention that common law is Christian law is based on vehement declarations of British judges on the subject.
“There is no doubt, therefore, that the Christians already have Christian law which was the same law that the Christian colonial masters brought to Nigeria and forced on all of us (including Muslims).
“Both the criminal and civil aspects of Islamic law were totally abrogated in the South West while only criminal law was abolished in the North.
“How beautiful would Nigeria have been if Nigerian Christians, particularly CAN, had been equally objective when reacting to demands forwarded by Muslims?
“But instead of being constructive, CAN always reject any idea moved by Muslims even when it does not affect Christians in any way.
“As we speak, Christians have opposed the demand of Muslims in the South West for Shariah even though they know quite well that the Muslims are only asking for civil Shariah, not the criminal Shariah which they fear involves amputation.
“They also know that Shariah will only be applied to Muslims alone. Shariah is the law of the Muslims, by the Muslims, for the Muslims.
“Let it be on record that although Christians have always opposed Yoruba Muslims who have been agitating for civil Shariah, Nigerian Muslims raised no objection when Bauchi Christians asked for Christian canon law.
“Posterity will judge who is more liberal, more accommodating, more understanding and more tolerant,” the statement concluded.
By Mayowa Oladeji
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