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Kano Became Sharia State, Asked Christian Girls To Wear Veil, Started Hisbah, Zakkat — Wike Replies Shekarau

Rivers state governor, H.E. Nyesom Wike, Former governor of Kano state under whom Sharia was introduced in the state

Shekarau, had in a statement on Thursday condemned the alleged demolition of the mosque and wondered why the Rivers state government would take such actions in a secular country like Nigeria.

The Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike has carpeted the former governor of Kano state, Ibrahim Shekarau over his comments on the alleged demolition of the Rainbow Town mosque in Trans-Amadi area of Port Harcourt, the state capital.

In the statement personally signed by him, the former Kano State governor was much more perturbed by the declaration of Rivers State as a complete Christian state by Wike.

In his reaction, Wike noted that as a governor of Kano State, Shekarau introduced Sharia law and officially made the state a Muslim State. This action, according to Wike, was premised on the fact that over 95 per cent of Kano people are Muslims, adding that the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo did not stop him neither did Nigerians question his decision.

Speaking through his Aide on electronics media, Simeone Nwakaudu in an article, Governor Wike recalled, “In 2008, Kano State Government under the leadership of Ibrahim Shekarau demolished Christ the King Catholic Church.

“The Kano State Urban Planning Development Agency (KANUPDA) demolished the Church because the Church lacked Certificate of Occupancy. Shekarau’s Administration said the structure of the church at Na’ibawa in Kumbotso local government was removed, after serving them a notice, advising them to prove its legitimacy or removed the church.

“In November 2003, Shekarau sworn-in Hisbah, Zakkat, Sharia Commission Members to consolidate his declaration that Kano is a Muslim State. The establishments’ members were sworn-in at Sani Abacha Stadium after a bill was passed into law by the State House of Assembly for the creation of the establishments. These were agencies of Kano State that promoted one religion to the detriment of others,” the article read in part.

He went further to recall that Shekarau compelled all Christian girls in his State to wear Hijab. “Those who refused to wear hijab under the leadership of Shekarau were asked to withdraw and leave Kano State. He burnt books believed not to promote the Islamic religion”.

Wike stressed that his declaration that Rivers is a Christian State is a statement of fact, adding that well over 98 per cent of the indigenous population are Christians. He promised to continue to promote religious freedom and tolerance in the state.

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I’m Not Dollars You Can Pocket Recklessly And Sheepishly – Wike Replies Ganduje |The Republican News

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state has blasted his Kano State counterpart, Abdullahi Ganduje, for threatening to take him to court over the reported demolition of Rainbow Town Central Mosque in Trans-Amadi area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.

Wike received serious backlash during the week over reported claims he demolished a mosque. He has since denied the claim.

Ganduje in a statement released today vowed to drag Governor Wike to court over the alleged demolition of the mosque.

Read here.

Reacting to Ganduje’s threat, Governor Wike in a statement released by his media aide, Simeon Nwakaudu, said the Kano state governor should be reminded that he, Wike, is not a dollar bill Ganduje can pocket” sheepishly and recklessly”.

Ganduje was involved in a bribery scandal last year after footage of him purportedly receiving wads of dollar bills from contractors in his state surfaced online.

Read Governor Wike’s statement below.

It beats my imagination that Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is still in the habit of making irresponsible comments about Rivers State. Up till now, Ganduje is yet to realise that Governor Wike is not dollars that he can pocket recklessly and sheepishly.

I saw a statement released by Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. He said that he will sue Governor Wike over the falsehood that a Mosque was demolished in Port Harcourt. For the umpteenth time, no Mosque was demolished by Governor Wike. No Mosque was demolished by the Rivers State Government.

The story was a fabrication by one Alhaji Tobacco. The fabrication was orchestrated by Daily Trust and The Nation Newspapers for obvious mischievous political reasons. These baseless press releases confirm the ugly plot.

Several journalists and civil society groups have visited the disputed land and no traces of any Mosque were found at the location. Governor Wike personally led journalists to the disputed land and the world saw that no Mosque existed there.

On Saturday, the Rivers State Islamic Leader/Vice President General, Rivers State Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Nasir Uhor stated that there was no physical structure of a Mosque at the disputed land at Rainbow Town in Port Harcourt. He said the insinuation that any structure was at that location was not true. He also admitted that a Rivers State High Court confirmed that the disputed land belongs to the Rivers State Government.

Suit Number PHC/986/2012 between Registered Trustees of Trans-Amadi Mosque, Port Harcourt (Claimant) and the Commissioner, Ministry of Urban Development and Physical Planning, Rivers State, the Governor of Rivers State and the Attorney General of Rivers State (Defendants) was resolved by Justice G.O. Omereji on Tuesday, 27th November 2018. This matter pre-dated Governor Wike.

Justice Omereji of the Rivers State High Court held that: “The defendants have in Exhibits J, J1 and J2 inclusive of Exhibit K, which is the Certificate of Title, established that the land, the subject matter of this suit, was acquired in 1959 by the Government.

“My humble opinion is that the claimants have not established that they have a better title to the land, the subject matter of this suit and they have not established that at the material time they were in possession and that the defendants do not have a better title to the land”.
The Court further ruled that the claimants had no approval to build on the disputed land.

The entire world is aware of the above facts. Nobody has circulated any photographs or videos of the said Mosque that Ganduje and other APC Chieftains are harping on. They merely want to use a non-existent Mosque story to score ugly political points.

Pray, what redress would Ganduje be seeking in court when he sues Governor Wike? Would Ganduje tell the court to relegate the Rivers State Ministry of Urban Development and Physical Planning and enthrone its Kano State Counterpart? Would Ganduje be asking the Court to hand over jurisdiction to Kano State High Court?

Under the Land Use Act, the governor is responsible for allocation of land in all urban areas to individuals’ resident in the state or to organizations for residential, agricultural, commercial and other purposes. Perhaps, Ganduje would be telling the Court to deny the Rivers State Governor of such powers, while he retains same powers under the Land Use Act in Kano State.

The Press Statement attributed to Ganduje is a confirmation that this country is at its lowest point. This is the worst form of administrative ignorance.

As a Governor with a bruised ego, Ganduje thinks that this religious falsehood would afford him a backdoor entry into the national good book. Sadly, he has exposed himself as a terribly ignorant leader who basks in baseless claims.

The disputed land is already before the court, as the Registered Trustees of Trans-Amadi Mosque, Port Harcourt (Claimant) sued the Rivers State Government in 2012. Having lost at the Court of First instance, these trustees have appealed the judgment.


GANDOLLARS MAY HAVE FORGOTTEN

On December 8, 2016, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, as Chairman of the Rivers State APC Election Rerun Campaign Committee, threatened violence on Rivers people at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium.

Alongside several APC Governors, Ganduje called on APC thugs to unleash mayhem on Rivers electorate for the purpose of rigging the rerun elections. He claimed that the aim was to ensure that the APC took control of the House of Assembly for the purpose of impeaching Governor Wike.

The APC Federal Government deployed 57,000 security personnel, billions of naira, millions of dollars, Jet Fighters and Gunboats for the rerun elections. Rivers people stood with Governor Wike and the APC was roundly defeated. Rivers people rejected the plot to pocket Governor Wike by the APC rigging machine.


GOVERNOR WIKE IS NOT DOLLARS

Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, a man who enjoys bribery and falsehood, must realise that Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike is not dollars that he pockets with ridiculous abandon. Governor Wike is a lover of the rule of law, due process, religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence. He cannot be intimidated by the illiterate threat of a lawsuit from a man of low moral standing.

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Tunisia Bans Islamic Niqab In Government Offices, Cities For Security Reasons |The Republican News

Tunisia’s premier on Friday banned the niqab Muslim face covering for women in government offices, citing security concerns after attacks in the North African country.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed signed a government circular “banning access to public administrations and institutions to anyone with their face covered… for security reasons,” his office said.

The ban on the niqab, which covers the entire face apart from the eyes, comes at a time of heightened security following a June 27 double suicide bombing in Tunis that left two dead and seven wounded.

The interior minister instructed police in February 2014 to step up supervision of the wearing of the niqab as part of anti-terrorism measures, to prevent its use as a disguise or to escape justice.

Reactions to the ban were mixed in the Tunisian capital.

“They have the right to prohibit (the niqab) given the events we are currently witnessing,” said Ilhem, a young Tunisian woman.

“But in the end, it remains an individual freedom,” she added.

Lina questioned “why the woman must make sacrifices every time there are security measures to be taken”.

The Tunisian League for the Defence of Human Rights urged that the measure be only temporary.

“We are for the freedom to dress (as one pleases), but today with the current situation and the terrorist threats in Tunisia and across the region we find justifications for this decision,” the league’s president Jamel Msallem told AFP.

He said that the ban should be repealed as soon as “a normal security situation returns in Tunisia”.

The niqab and other outward shows of Islamic devotion were not tolerated under the regime of longtime autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali but have made a comeback since he was toppled in Tunisia’s 2011 revolution.

After bloody attacks in 2015 that targeted security forces and tourists, there were calls in Tunisia to re-impose the ban.

(AFP)

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Best Jihad For Muslims Is Knowledge And Not Killings – Sheikh Gummi |The Republican News

Sheikh Ahmad Gummi

By Mohammed Ibrahim Yaba, Kaduna 

A renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gummi, has said the best Jihad for Muslims to pursue in this modern time is knowledge and not killings of innocent lives.

He described both western and Islamic knowledge as best form of Jihad every Muslim male or female should acquire.

The scholar made the comment while closing this year’s Tafsir lecture at Sultan Bello Mosque Kaduna on Sunday evening.

He said due to poor understanding of the concept of Islam, many youths have misunderstood the true message of Islam and are using verses of Jihad to cause havoc and to kill innocent people.

The Islamic cleric explained that there was an Hadith that says before the end of time, true knowledge will be lifted off while ignorant remains and there will be lot of commotion.

“What commotion means here is lot of killings and murder between Muslims all in the name of Islam.

“Islam is free of such obligations because Allah has not called anyone to kill anybody. There is a system of jihad and the best jihad now is knowledge.

“We need to educate our daughters in the field of medicine if we want to free our married women from being attended to by male doctors. “We need to make sure our male children go into ICT because everything today is about ICT.

“There are also other important sectors that Muslims are lacking and we need to acquire such knowledge if we really want to be important in the society.

“All these are jihad that we need to do for our future generations. So, whoever tries to obtain knowledge no matter how, he is a ‘Mujahid’.

“Therefore, all these killings are directed by ignorance and lack of moral education which makes it the most paramount targets of the congregation. May Allah give us victory over all evil army,” he said. (Daily Trust)

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Night Club Worth Over N0.5bn Demolished As Stripper With Islamic Hijab Danced In Abuja |RN

Stripper wearing islamic hijab

By Chibiko Ikenna Offor

The Republican News was informed that a stripper performed in a night club wearing an Islamic head cover (hijab) at the FCT, Abuja, the capital of Nigeria and this prompted an unimaginable response from FCT Authority.

The Republican News was told that FCT authorities responded by demolishing the entire property valued at over 500million Naira.

How such action warranted such response in a secular country like Nigeria is something that bugles the minds of many Nigerians

Please don’t get me wrong, I do not subscribe to any form of religious insensitivity in a secular “federal arrangement” such as in Nigeria.
But by what authority or judicial pronouncement was that property destroyed?

Is there any law in Nigeria constitution or the FCT criminalizing nightlife or “stripping entertainment”?

Has Nigeria as a country become already an Islamic state under the current government that would warrant such abuse of the law in Abuja, which is not under Sharia law?

If the Minister got away with this, a very dangerous precedence is being set in Nigeria’s federal capital whose consequences would better be imagined.

Let’s hear your opinion.

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Kano Assembly Moves To Create Four Additional Emirates|The Republican News

Kano State House of Assembly has commenced move for creation of four additional emirates in the state.

At yesterday’s plenary, the Speaker of the House, Alhaji Kabiru Alhassan Rurum read a letter brought to the house for consideration by Ibrahim Salisu and others for creating the additional emirates.

The implication of creating additional emirates is that the powers of the present Emir of Kao, Malam Muhammad Sanusi ll, would be reduced.

The proposed emirates are Karaye, Bichi, Rano and Gaya.

Speaker Kabir Alasan-Rurum who presided at plenary read the petition.

He told the lawmakers that the petitioners demanded decentralisation of the existing emirate council.

Justifying the new emirate, Salisu and others said  establishment of the new emirates  would bring more developmental advantages in the state.

They stated  that the motive would  draw the remote and historic emirate closer to the state government, ‘‘which would enhance security and developmental aspects of Kano’’.

After the presentation of the petition before the house, majority of the members unanimously supported the move.

While contributing, Alhaji Zakari Muhammad, member representing Tarauni Constituency said the moves came at the right time.

sanusilamido

He cited decentralisation of emirates by neighbouring statesw which he said had brought  developmental strides to them.

Also, members representing Takai, Dawakin Tofa, Rimin-Gado, Municipal, Nassarawa and Tudun Wada constituencies also supported the move.

The lawmakers expressed the opinions that such creation of the new emirates will make them equal in power as far as their emirate status is concerned.

However, with the petition hotly debated on the floor of the House, yesterday,

Already, thirteen legislators have already assented to the petition while the former speaker, Alhaji Isiyaku Ali Danja, who is  from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) vehemently resisted the prayer contained in the petition.

He  urged his colleagues to maintain the status quo by allowing the existence of one emirate council instead of decentralising them.

Thereafter, the leadership of the House had adjourned sitting till today, to give ample time for the lawmakers to further deliberate on the issue . (The Sun)

 

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Cattle Colonies, Islamic Teachers And Their Antecedents In Colonialism Games (Part 1) – Prince Adimula

Prince-Oba-Loye-Adimula

By Prince Oba-Loye Adimula

 

The English meaning of the word “colonialism” expressed a direct revelation of mischief makers or the mischievousness of certain group of individuals or group of cunning ambitious society with missions as…..”the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country or community, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically”.

One do not need further explanation on the missions of the above mentioned groups known as…either..CATTLE REARERS or ISLAMIC SCHOLARS/TEACHERS…. galvanizing around since late 18th Century till date within our contemporary country, now called Nigeria.

FIRST CASUALTIES:

The historical accounts of GOBIRAWA NATIVES otherwise known as aboriginal Hausa people were of a Kingdom that spread round what we know presently as the core Northern Nigeria. The kingdom started between 9th/10th century ago, almost the same century the 2nd generational coming of king Oduduwa Dynasty of Oodua race started down the area known as South west of Nigeria (Detail Historical account of GOBIRAWA and Yoruba Nation to come soon……)

By late 1700s a powerful imperial king Nefata of Gobir/Hausa Kingdom, with ancient Alkalawa town as the capital of the Kingdom. King Nefata, however, loved his crown Prince Yumfa and the imperial king wanted the Prince to have additional spiritual power added to the existing native spiritual power.

Therefore, King Nefata decided to source for an Islamic scholar/teacher from the far away ancient Songhai empire. The Islamic teacher, which was later identified as Usman Dan Fodio

Mallam Dan Fodio was brought down to the ancient Alkalawa town, the ancestral capital of Gobirawa natives, now known as aboriginal Hausa race; to be teaching the crown Prince Yumfa Islamic lectures.

Dan Fodio was allowed access into the palace to integrate with people in both palace and within the community as the crown Prince’s Islamic teacher. Dan Fodio was also granted privileges around within the royal palaces within Gobirawa kingdom.

No too long, the imperial King Nefata died and crown Prince Yumfa was young and once student of Malam Dan Fodio, who pretended to be around the young king to offer advises and bring the young king to orders.

Tricking the system, Mallam Dan Fodio was smart to convinced the generality of Hausa communities to join him to end royalties and taxes to the palace and to the young king for their freedom. However, Dan Fodio stage manage a community war , which broke out in 1804 and Mallam Dan Fodio was supported by the majority of Hausa communities; whereas, the Young imperial king Yumfa was killed with other Hausa kings under the kingdom.

Thereafter, Mallam Dan Fodio and his Fulani warlords reneged on what they promised the Hausa communities and decided to killed anyone who dare them or asked questions.

Complementarily, Mallam Dan Fodio established caliphate instead of kingdom. Sultan to head all, Emirs to manage communities and towns; Serikis to run villages and small settlements; and by 1809 all the Emirs and Serikis were of Fulani blood and it has remained so till date.

Mallam Dan Fodio, as Sultan, mandated and swore that the Gobirawa natives or Hausa race must never again rule over their land.

Systematically, part of the colonized styles employed was…….as a Fulani descendants, they agreed never to allowed or teach strangers, especially Hausa people their Fulani language (FUFULDI) but to dropped their Fufuldi language within themselves and adopted to learn the Hausa language.

This language crossing and language secrecy within minority Fulani was employed to control the Hausa majority. Surprisingly, no full-blooded Hausa descendants could speak or understand Fulani’s Fufuldi language but all Fulanis speak Hausa fluently as their accepted second language.

Also, Fulanis do marry Hausa women but Fulani forbidden marriages between their women and Hausa men, except otherwise on a very coordinated and espionage missions on any Hausa man.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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Buhari Will Be Defeated, Shiites Vow With Anger |The Republican News

Wale Odunsi, Daily Post

 

 

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (Shiites) on Monday declared that President Muhammadu Buhari was on his way out of office.

“Buhari can feel the inevitable defeat coming his way, so the desperate attempt by the administration to cause chaos so that the elections will not hold, at the same time becloud its brutal and inhuman Saudi-sponsored Zaria genocide that resulted in the brutal death of 1000+ innocent children, women and men in Zaria in December 2015”, IMN spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, said in a statement sent to DAILY POST on Monday.

IMN also alerted that it had obtained a secret circular written by the Department of State Service (DSS) which was dispatched to all Service Chiefs, Inspector General of Police and heads of other security agencies.

It said the DSS, in the memo, urged them to take aggressive stance against the Islamic sect.

The letter reads in part: “Intelligence availed to this service revealed plans by the leadership of IMN to mobilise its membership in large numbers for a massive protest and other hostile activities, including the use of explosives and firearms in the days ahead. It was gathered that the group intends to besiege some major Northern cities and towns in Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the planned attack.

“The planned attack is to be carried out in league with members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), some opposition elements and a section of human rights movement, with a view to providing massive violence and attracting the attention of the International Community ahead of the 2019 general election.”

Reacting, IMN, assured Nigerians and the international community that the allegation was malicious and unfounded, aimed at maligning the Movement with a view to painting it in bad light.

“There is no iota of truth in their claim, and it is just mere fabrication to justify the killing of members of the Movement ahead of February 16, Presidential election.

“We have said it several times that our protests are peaceful and have demonstrated that on the streets. All protest staged by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria are peaceful including the Free Zakzaky protest in Kaduna, Kano and the Federal capital city, Abuja.

“It is the Nigerian Army and Police that turn some of these peaceful protests violent by their attacks with live ammunition and in some cases battlefield weapons on peaceful protesters. The comprehensive revelation by the New York Times video on the Abuja Shia Massacre by the Elite presidential guard is a pointer to this fact.

“Not only that, it is on record that during the 2011 election violence, Sheikh Zakzaky and other members of the Islamic Movement did all they could to stop the violence and even gave refuge to victims of the senseless killings, as a demonstration of its peaceful nature and its belief in mutual understanding between people of different tribes, regions and religions.

“For a secret security service to now accuse us of planning violence is the height of the rot in its intelligence gathering and manufacturing systems.

“In view of the foregoing, we categorically reject the unprofessional, unintelligent and baseless allegations made by the DSS and confirm that we do not know the existence of or have any link what so ever with any group called Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and we have no plan to besiege or attack any town, place or person.”            (Daily Post)

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Army Unmask New Deadly Islamic Religious Sect, Hakika Islam |RN

boko-haram

 

Molly Kilete, Abuja

The Nigerian Army has alerted of the emergence of another deadly Islamic sect known as “Hakika Islamic.” The army said the group has strange doctrines similar to that of Boko Haram.

The sect, according to the army, is headed by one Yahaya Ibrahim and is currently recruiting young men and women; with operational bases around Ngwurore, in Yola South Local Government Area of Adamawa State and Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

Giving more insight into the activities of the sect, the army said the group has controversial doctrines. The sect, which is said to have been in existence for sometime now, according to Daily Sun sources, was beginning to give army authorities fighting counter-insurgency war in the North East big concern.

It was also gathered that already, the army authorities in Borno State have contacted the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS); to inform them about the existence of the sect.

Army informed the NIS in a July 4, 2018 letter.

The said letter, with reference number 192 BN/G3/240/57, was signed by one Lieutenant TG Iortyom on behalf of the Acting Commanding Officer in charge of 192 Battalion in Borno.

The letter, made available to Daily Sun, reads: “I am directed to connect security report from own high command and to inform you that information received that an Islamic Sect known as “Hakika” under the leadership of one Yahaya Ibrahim has emerged around Ngwurore in Yola South LGA of Adamawa State and Toto LGA of Nasarawa state.

“It was gathered that the group is currently on recruitment drive, with series of controversial doctrines from non-adherence to five days prayers, to non-observance of Ramadan, promotion of fornication and adultery among others. In view of the above, I am directed to request you disseminate this information to your men and monitor the activities of the newly formed sect in your Area of Responsibility, accordingly.”

When contacted, the Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim, confirmed the report and added that the military is already on top of the situation.

“We are investigating activities of the group; to ensure that they do not get out of hand and cause havoc with their activities in the country,” said Agim.  (The Sun)

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Must Read: Why The Sartorial Choices Of Salafi Clerics Sparked A Debate On Morality In Nigeria – Prof Ochonu

Muslims pray at the Kofar Mata Central Mosque in Kano, Northern Nigeria. Liberal and fundamentalist Islam are in a contest of legitimacy in the region. Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye

The innocuous photos of two Nigerian Islamic clerics shopping and relaxing in London sparked a fierce debate on social media platforms in northern Nigeria in early December 2017. The photos were quite unremarkable. One showed the two men sitting on a park bench; another showed them in a clothing store wearing cowboy hats. In both, they were dressed in suits. And they were wearing gloves and scarves to protect themselves from London’s cold, wet weather.

The pictures caused a fierce online debate about piety, hypocrisy, morality, the sartorial prescriptions of Islam, and the tyranny of religious authorities in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria. The violent Islamist group, Boko Haram, is active in the region, which has become a hotbed of extremism.

So, why were these ordinary images so controversial? Why did they spark heated debates among educated northern Nigerian Muslim men and women?

The answer is simple. The two men are Salafi clerics, members of a clerical order that has come to wield outsized influence over Muslims in northern Nigeria. The clerics act as enforcers of an increasingly puritan Islamic order. They are uncompromising in defining what is moral and permissible and what is haram or sacrilegious. They often equate Muslims’ engagements with modernity and Western ways of life with immorality and sinful innovation or bid’ah.

This leaves them open to charges of hypocrisy when they appear to make choices seen as contradicting their teachings. And this is what happened in London. The two clerics were wearing what in northern Nigeria is considered western dress. This touched off debates between two camps of young Muslims: those who resent the growing intrusion of the clerics into their lives and are eager to criticise their adventures in a Western city, and those who continue to look on the religious figures as revered exemplars of piety.

Wahhabism and the roots of Salafi Puritanism

The Islamic sect to which the two clerics belong heightened the controversy. Sheikh Kabiru Gombe and his mentor, Sheikh Bala Lau, are prominent clerics of the Izala sect, the most visible face of a growing community of Nigerian Salafism, a branch of Sunni Islam which holds to a strict, uncompromising doctrine.

Leaders of the sect are gaining popularity and displacing mainstream Sufi clerics in the region. They accuse traditional Sufi Muslims of hobnobbing with modernity and failing to practice Islam in its pure form. Sufis are vulnerable to these accusations because their creed focuses on individual mystical paths to God rather than on outward, political and authoritarian expressions of piety.

This difference has led to an increasingly intense contest between the two sides. The photographs of the two clerics catapulted the contest onto social media, blogs and web forums.

The personalities and profiles of the two clerics contributed to the intensity of the debates.

Sheikh Gombe is known in the region for his ultra-radical Salafi theological positions and pronouncements. He has made his voice heard in local and foreign settings, capturing the imagination of some young Muslims in northern Nigeria. He presents an argument that being a pure Muslim means eschewing association with Western modernity. He is against modern and Western institutions such as secular filmmaking, mixed gender socialisation and goods such as Western clothes. All, he argues, can pollute the piety of Muslims.

In my ongoing research on the historical roots of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, I call the rise of this branch of Islam the Salafi Islamic wave. Tracing its roots, I have found that it began with the slow but well-funded arrival of Wahhabism in northern Nigeria in the 1980s and 1990s. Wahhabism is the puritan strain of Sunni Islam birthed in Saudi Arabia by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab.

The Wahhabi-Salafis’ most dominant organisational umbrella was – and still is – the Izala sect, which was founded in 1978 in Jos, Nigeria, by followers of the late Sheikh Abubakar Gumi.

At the time Gumi was travelling throughout the Muslim world and spending time in Saudi Arabia as a member of both the Supreme Council of the Islamic University in Medina and the Legal Committee of the Muslim World League. He returned to Nigeria in 1986 and was recognised as the spiritual leader of the Izala anti-Sufi reform movement. The movement’s following expanded dramatically under him.

The Izala group set up schools and the best graduates were sent – on generous Saudi Arabian scholarships – to the University of Medina to study Islam under a Wahhabi curriculum with a tinge of ultra-radical Salafism. They returned in the 1990s and inaugurated a new Salafi era in northern Nigerian Islam.

In the 2000s, Medina-trained Salafi clerics, backed by Saudi money and patronage, succeeded in upstaging the old Izala clerical order through a mix of youthful charisma, theological novelty and populism. They began entrenching their strict moral code conforming, according to them, to the Islamic Sharia law.

Beyond photos and suits

Western culture and lifestyle dominate popular culture in Nigeria. For many young Muslims in northern Nigeria, Salafism’s prescriptions and prohibitions are suffocating, particularly for those who want a more pragmatic engagement with a Western lifestyle. Many believe they can pursue these lifestyle choices and still practice their religion.

But Salafi clerics and their followers see no acceptable compromise. They are increasingly making themselves custodians of public morality. They routinely condemn conduct that they associate with decadent, permissive western modernity. For example, they dictate what northern Nigerian Muslims can and can’t wear.

The debate around the two clerics was therefore not a trivial conversation about the dress and the recreational choices of two Salafi clerics. The photos were loaded with symbolism and contradictions. Participants in the online debate used the opportunity to criticise – or excuse – the perceived tyranny and hypocrisy of a powerful Salafi establishment. And to express personal anxieties and fears.

The debate about modernity, Islam, and morality has migrated to online platforms because the internet is relatively anonymous. This has given both sides greater freedom to express their views. The debate encapsulates the ongoing ideological struggle in northern Nigerian Islam between those who live and defend a modern lifestyle, and those suspicious of Western modernity and the unmediated influence of Western education and culture.   (The Conversation)

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