Faith-based organisations (FBOs) should not be pushed into a program or project that is not their primary role. Yes, protest is allowed in Islam. It is not compulsory that protest has to be led by FBOs leaders and organizations. Theologically-speaking, FBOs are primarily established to provide guidance to their members and the society at large on important social-economic and political issues from the lenses of religion. However, for sensitive and volatile issues such as the End SARS protest that emerged suddenly, FBOs, without prejudice need to be circumspect on what is the real motive of the protest as the Federal Government has acceded to all the demands of the protesters and yet they are recalcitrant in their protest. Afterall, there are enough civil society organizations with sufficient expertise to guide the End SARS project! Must it be the Shuyukh and Pastors? Must press statements be made on all issues?
We have many more issues threatening the unity of the country. We have just overcome the call for Oduduwa Republic. Islamic faith-based organisations (IFBOs) and their leaders had issued warnings and wrote several press statements on the subject matter. A week after the call of Oduduwa Republic, the End SARS surfaced! Should that not give wise leaders reasons to reflect before speaking for or against End SARS?
Two points are noteworthy, namely:
1. There are Muslims, Christians, Idol worshippers and free thinkers among the protesters. Muslims have not been accused of not joining! Why the apprehension over nothing?
2. Major IFBOs and Christian faith-based organisations (CFBOs) have maintained calm in order to study the situation before commenting on the issue. Both IFBOs and CFBOs had commented at different times on police reforms and urgent need for state policing for effective crime prevention.
It is too early to say that End SARS is the solution or not the solution. So many things are wrong in Nigeria, not the police alone. Have MFM, PFN, CAN, Catholics, NSCIA, CAC, CCC, Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria, Redeemed, NASFAT, MUSWEN, NACOMYO, MSSN National, TMC and others spoken? Obviously not! There is wisdom in silence. Silence could mean tacit support for the protest or tactical disapproval of it.
In TMC, press releases are issued regularly and periodically on all national issues, but the present issue of End SARS met everyone by surprise. There is need for caution before making statements. After all, the Prophet, peace be upon him said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should speak what is good or keep silent.”
Nicholas Sparks also counseled:
“We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.” (Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook). In a democracy, everyone is entitled to their opinion.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Muslim News Nigeria.
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