The Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) recently lent its voice to the battle against insurgency in Nigeria. Its Secretary-General, Eyad Ameen Madani, during a recent meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan on his vision for the 57-member organisation in Abuja, expressed solidarity with Nigeria on the Boko Haram insurgency. The OIC scribe described the insurgents as outlaws, and their activities as criminal. He further averred that the actions of the sect had nothing to do with Islam, as erroneously believed by many.
He added that if the federal government allowed it, the OIC could be involved in different ways in the fight to exterminate Boko Haram. He also said that OIC could convene an inter-faith dialogue on the crisis, because the problem is multi-dimensional, and there is a lot to be said about the veracity of the sect’s claims.
The position of the OIC on Boko Haram is a boost to the fight against the sect which has, for some time now, troubled the nation with multiple bombings, serial abductions and indiscriminate assassinations. These attacks have resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and wanton destruction of property, mostly in the North-East axis and, lately, parts of Abuja.
It is good that this notable Islamic body is backing the Nigerian government on the war against terrorism, and also isolating Boko Haram. Until this dissociation from this deadly sect, the impression had been created that the Nigerian terrorists had the tacit endorsement, if not firm support, of major international Islamic bodies. Many reports have linked the insurgents with al-Qaeda and Al Shabaab, which are among the foremost terrorist groups in the world. The OIC intervention has also somewhat disputed the belief in some quarters that Boko Haram is an offshoot of the Islamic faith.
The OIC stance supports the claim by mainstream Muslims that the Islamic religion is defined by peace and cannot, therefore, be associated with the mindless killings and destruction that characterise the Boko Haram sect..
Now that OIC has been unequivocal in its condemnation of the activities of the sect, we implore other Islamic organisations to do likewise. Let them all also go beyond verbal condemnation of the sect’s unconscionable acts to designing a programme of action to stop the insurgents from their bloody terrorist campaign that is badly maligning the image of Islam in Nigeria.
We enjoin all well-meaning Islamic associations in different parts of the world to take the bull by the horns on the raging callousness of Boko Haram. Let them take spirited action to dissociate Islam from this sect. There should also be concrete and well organised strategies to counter the activities of the fundamentalists who are giving their religion a bad name.
It is quite clear that the Boko Haram insurgency is antithetical to the tenets and principles of Islam. The nondescript nature of their ideology, criminality and arbitrary modus operandi are clearly un-Islamic. They irreverently scandalise Islam, even when there is no nexus between them.
The global Islamic community must boldly dissociate itself from Boko Haram and back its denouncement of the sect with action. Islamic organisations must not hesitate in breaking all manner of relationships or ties with the sect, if such exists. It is only when this kind of synergy against terror is attained that Boko Haram can be reined in. This sect must be denounced by all lovers of humanity. The unprecedented mayhem they have unleashed in Nigeria is a challenge to the country’s sovereignty and continued peaceful existence.
It is commendable that the OIC has joined the international solidarity against Boko Haram. Let other Islamic agencies condemn and invoke sanctions against the sect. The OIC move gives credence to the claim that Boko Haram is alien to Islam and does not represent the religion. The sect’s campaign of bloodshed is an embarrassment to Islam. Let all hands be on deck against the group’s campaign of terror.
Boko Haram’s mindless radicalism is an affront to Nigeria. Therefore, we welcome the support from friendly nations, the OIC declaration and other interventionist mechanisms aimed at routing terrorism and insurgency in the country. Let Nigeria harness the growing international solidarity against Boko Haram to bring an end to the insurgency.