The Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, has flayed the Christmas message by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, where he accused President Muhammadu Buhari of nepotism, saying the message was an attack on Islam.
In a press statement signed by JNI’s Secretary General, Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, on Wednesday, January 6, in Kaduna, titled ‘Press release on Reverend Kukah’s Christmas homily,’ the organization described Bishop Kukah’s message as “irresponsible and seditious and targeted at Islam with the aim of denigrating the religion.”
The apex Islamic organization added that Kukah’s homily was a “poisoned arrow fired at the heart of Islam and Muslims across the country.”
The statement reads:
“Though the message is disguised as a political hogwash to deceive the innocent, there is no doubt that it was a poisoned arrow fired at the heart of Islam and Muslims in Nigeria, hence the need for this intervention.
“The Bishop’s statement was a prepared address considering the occasion and the audience; one cannot but agree that it was a calculated attempt to insult Islam which is typical of him.
“His veiled insinuation that Muslims have a pool of violence to draw from is disgusting, disheartening, as well as condemnable.
“Responsibly, Christmas homilies should come with messages of hope, unity, mercy, forgiveness of the Supreme Being and resilience through prayers, especially in this trying time.
“The Bishop’s message was, however, a clear deviation from the well-established norm across the globe. Kukah is the Bishop of the Sokoto diocese located at the seat of the Caliphate and the heart of Islam and Islamic scholarship, culture, and practices in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Despite the status of Sokoto to the Muslims and Islamic history, Bishop Kukah was warmly welcomed, accepted, accommodated, and accorded respect deserving of his position as a religious leader.
“Across the length and breadth of Northern Nigeria, Kukah has friends and associates among the Muslim society. Without fear of any contradiction, he is most the accepted and accommodated Christian clergy to the leaders of the Muslims in the north.
“They accorded him all the support he needed, despite some reservations from some quarters about his tendencies to bite the fingers that feed him.
“Despite the liberality, congeniality, and the camaraderie extended to Bishop Kukah in Sokoto and all over the Muslim north, he throws all sense of decorum and common sense to the wind and fired invective and salvos on the Muslims and Islam without any justification.
“By this and his several similar inane attacks against Islam and the Muslims, the Bishop has lost the friendship and the hospitality of the entire Muslim populace.
“How can the Muslims ever trust a man who smiles at their faces in the day and hold a dagger against them in the night? How can the Muslims continue to be hospitable to the one who proves to be an ingrate many times over? How can the Muslims be comfortable in associating with a bitterly vindictive person disguised in the garb of religious clergy?
“The Bishop cannot pretend to be attacking President Buhari and end up punching Islam and the Muslims. We will never accept to be used as a punching bag of the vindictive Bishop.
“It is mind-boggling to imagine why Bishop Kukah is always keen on pushing at the national fault lines; religion, tribe, and north-south divide. His fiery and equally violent inciting speech at the burial of the late Governor Yakowa of Kaduna State is still fresh in our memories.
“The Priest, especially the Catholic Priest and indeed the High Priest as the Bishop represents is an eternal conciliator and reconciliation. A messenger of peace. His words must always portray to engender love, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, and unity.
“The Priest must always be seen to be on the side of the truth, never to take sides, except to side with the downtrodden, weak, and helpless. He must speak truth to power just like Christ did, but must not play to the gallery or be tempted to become populist.
“Bishop Kukah should not take Muslims kindness for timidity or foolishness. In being accommodative and kind, the Muslims are adhering to the teaching of the Glorious Quran that even in times of war, the Muslims should offer assistance to those who seek their protection.
“The Muslims’ kind nature should not be taken for granted, because our Prophet (Peace be upon him) has warned that a Muslim should not allow himself to be ridiculed where he said believer should not be stung twice in the same hole.
“Kukah and his likes who enjoy the pleasure of denigrating Islam and Muslims at any slightest opportunity should have lowered their guards, to have some peace of mind because the spark which Islam kindles can never be extinguished.
“Authorities more ferocious, more organized, and more persistent than Kukah, have all tried to denigrate Islam but alas Islam and Muslims have remained consistently triumphant.”