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Sunday Whistle: As Koran Heads Towards East | by Fr. Felix Akam

Not in spite of religion but because of it, leaders elected to defend the lives and property of every Nigerian are now supervising the ruthless slaughtering of fellow citizens. In spite of their faith, Christian politicians are more concerned about their political ambition than the Islamic aspiration of dipping the Koran at the eastern heart of River Niger.

History shows that Islam grows by exploiting divisions and greed. Beginning in 622 C.E. as an obscure desert religion spreading the teaching of Prophet Mohammed on the Arabian Peninsula, Islam in 150 years extended its rule over 5,000,000 square miles. At that time, the brutal divisions between the two great empires- the Persian Empire and the Byzantine or Eastern Roman- had crippled their military powers even as their subjects were tired of unceasing military campaigns. Islam stepped in and drove the Byzantine Empire back into Asia Minor (modern Turkey), took over the city of Jerusalem in 638 and in 711 engulfed Visigothic Spain then plagued by decades of civil wars. The rest is history.

At the height of PDP’s rascality in Nigeria, Islam re-wrapped herself in APC party and appealing to public mood, exploited the old hatreds among tribes, intra-rivalry among Christians, and the political orientation of Christian politicians which places vested interest above gospel values. Once in power, the rest has been a tale of Islamization in the constitution of security apparatchiks, redesigning of school curriculum, and tacit leeway given to Fulani herdsmen to slaughter Christians.

In her early years, Islam did not convert only by sword, they would rather subject conquered Christians and Jews to a public head tax from which Muslims were exempt and gradually many of these infidels would convert to escape revenue. Today, there is no more condemnation for any corrupt politician who joins the APC. Once given a portfolio under the APC, a Christian like pastor Osibanjo is under oath to sweep away and lie against Christianity; and to confirm on the authority of whatever craps of Christianity he believes that there is no Islamic agenda going on.

In her articulated vision of apocalyptic struggle, the ISIL has divided the world into two camps: the kufr or unbelief and that of radical Islam.” In between these camps lies what they call a “grey zone” a city of hypocrisy inhabited by fake Muslims whose attitude undermines Islamic goal. The ISIL has placed an obligation on all Muslims to rise with all their positions, professions and skills to destroy “Grey zones” and establish Islamic utopian state. Officially, many appear to denounce ISIL but more Muslim politicians are becoming sympathetic to Islamic agenda, more Muslim judges are wearing headscarves and Muslim footballers are boycotting champagne-popping celebrations with teammates.

As grey zones are gradually varnishing, the infidels are facing difficult times especially where Muslims lead. At a moment like this in Europe, the Popes had called on crusaders to stand up and save Christianity. In this way, Catholic Church defended Christianity from extinction. Sadly, the Christianity has fallen on the bewildered laps of many business moguls who rather than preach gospel values of love and eternal life are busy teaching their congregation how to hate Catholics and how to become rich at all cost. In Nigeria, church is part of our bigger problems.

In periods of persecution, people turn to and not on themselves. Christians should unite with one voice and one mind to destroy their own grey zones and defend their faith. While upholding respect for other religions, they should abandon their lukewarm attitude and take to the streets to shout their plight with loud, lawful, and well coordinated demonstrations under world media coverage. Quoting scriptures on the pulpit or issuing communiqués from sofas without practical actions will definitely lead us to the experience of Turkey where Christianity moved from overwhelming dominance to insignificant status. What has happened is a foretaste of what is to come after 2019 elections.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has waved the flag. It has not only advised the president to choose the path of honour and resign but also called on Nigerian Christians to rise up in prayerful demonstrations on Tuesday May 22, 2018 in solidarity with our slay and suffering brothers and sisters. As the road ahead looks difficult, we should not give up. It is not by mistake that Christianity grows in persecution.

Laying Manichean choices before America at the aftermath of Washington attack, George Bush Jr in 2001 declared: “You are with us, or you are with the terrorists." That is the choice before every Christian in Nigeria as the Koran heads towards the east.

©Felix Uche Akam, a Catholic priest of the Abakaliki Diocese writes from Freiburg, Germany.

All views expressed in this article are those of the writer. It therefore, does not in any way represent the views of CNR Nigeria

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