The Muslim Rights Concerns (MURIC), has called on Nigerians to praise Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, instead of villyfying him for putting his life at risk in going into forests to meet and talk to bandits terrorising the Northern parts of Nigeria.
In a statement on Wednesday made available to Ripples Nigeria, the Director General of MURIC, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, said those calling for the arrest of Gumi and asking him to lead security agents to the den of bandits want to incriminate him for doing a great service to the nation and the victims of banditry.
Akintola added that instead of seeing Gumi in a bad light, Nigerians should praise him and hold him in high esteem as a hero.
The statement reads:
“We should not blame Sheikh Gumi if he goes in there and talks to the bandits. He’s putting his life on the line and nobody should crucify him for that.
“He should rather be praised for doing a great service to the nation and victims of banditry.
“The only thing we don’t want him to do is negotiating with them when it comes to money matters.
“Bandits should not turn kidnappings and killings into a business venture. Criminality is criminality.
“And that’s where I agree with the Nigerian government that we cannot negotiate with bandits. If they want to surrender, let them surrender and hand over their weapons.
“Banditry as a phenomenon anywhere at all, especially in the Northern part of Nigeria is ugly, very unfortunate, but it is the fault of all of us. Having said that, I think there are two ways to it.
“I would not blame the government for refusing to negotiate with bandits. It is difficult to identify who is a bandit or who is not.
“And the more you negotiate with them and pay, the more they want more ransom. And the more they are given more ransom, the bolder and more vicious they become.
“If what Sheikh Gumi and the likes are doing is talking to them, deradicalising them, converting them to the true religion of Islam, I think he is doing a good job and should be commended.
“I support Sheikh Gumi if he’s deradicalising them. I also support the Nigerian government’s decision not to negotiate. When they kidnap people and you want to negotiate, they will come back for more.
“Anybody who makes the suggestion that Sheikh Gumi should lead military personnel to the bandits is trying to incriminate him. People may not know his intention.
“In Islam, there is an Hadith which says, ‘actions shall be judged by intentions.’ Unfortunately, the intention is always in the heart. It’s in the mind. It’s not open.”
“So, I’m saying he can take his dawah (invitation) to the bandits. He can talk to them, deradicalise them, and make them see the reality of life. Let them understand the depth of the suffering they are bringing to Nigerians.”
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