Published: 10:00 GMT Daylight Time - Wednesday 01 August 2012
Islamic leaders in Nigeria urge Boko Haram to end violence against Christians
Country/Region: Africa, Nigeria, Middle East and North Africa
Islamic scholars and leaders in Nigeria have urged militant group Boko Haram to end its violent campaign against Christians and other targets in the country.
Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria
Speaking at a lecture as part of the National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations’ Ramadan activities, they called for a ceasefire from the group.
One of the speakers, Sayid Bagher Seyed Jaradi, the Acting Cultural Consulate of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, said this was “urgently expected for the sake of humanity, credibility of the Islamic religion and peaceful co-existence among Nigerians”.
He said that the violence being perpetrated by Boko Haram “not only pitched the non-Muslims against the Muslims, but questioned the sanctity of the religion”.
They [Boko Haram] should realise that the merciless killings of innocent people, including non-Muslims, across Nigeria, is not known and acceptable by any law or religious tenets across the globe. They should be enlightened or reminded that the basic preaching of Islamic religion is peace, which can never be achieved when we are hostile to our brothers and sisters, including the non-Muslims.
Speaking out against Boko Haram is a brave move, as other Muslim leaders who have opposed their activities have been targeted by the group.
Boko Haram has this year stepped up its violent campaign to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria, attacking Christians in particular but also others, including the security forces.
The group recently said, “We will not end our attacks until we have an Islamic state.” They had previously declared “war” against Christians, saying in March that they were planning coordinated attacks to “eradicate Christians from certain parts of the country”.
Many Sundays have seen churches in the North and Middle Belt bombed during services, and scores of Christians have been killed.
In Boko Haram’s latest assault, more than 50 Christians were burned alive when militants bombed a pastor’s house where they had sought refuge as the group raided twelve villages in Plateau State.