hen the Boko Haram crisis started, two sets of destructive mindsets emerged.
First are the conspiracy theorists among the Muslims, who were busy ramming home their ill conceived notion that the group was created and funded by Christians to destroy Muslims and their economy. They also carelessly cite the magnitude of the attacks and the surprising helplessness of the army against the ragtag insurgents. Some of them pointed to bombings and killings in the mosques. To them, no Muslim will ever do that. We reminded them that the Qaramidah did worst than that at the Kaabah.
Despite the fact that evidences perfectly dislodged their points, they were believed by many because the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at that time was, unfortunately believed to be a clueless and incompetent Christian. The politicians also exploited the situation by either keeping quiet while the lies we are being dangerously disseminated, or even spreading the lies themselves.
Fortunately, the coming of a Muslim as the new Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces completely exposed the lies and misconceptions buried in those theories. Their purveyors simply vanished.
The second are the scaremongers among the Christians. They, too, are conspiracy theorists. They spread many lies, in many instances with the help of the media. Some of them found an avenue to attack Muslims and their religion. They insisted that BH represents Islam and whatever they were represented Islam. Many Muslims have tried to explain to them that their (BH) actions contradicted Islam. We even pointed that if the Boko Haram’s version had been the Islam brought by the Messenger of Allah and the one generally accepted and practiced by Muslims, why is it that throughout these years, Muslims lived in peace with others? Why didn’t Danfodio kill all non-Muslims, despite the fact that he got all the chances to do that?
We explained to them that Boko Haram considers Muslims, who do not subscribe to their understanding of Islam, as non-Muslims, too, whose blood and properties could be wasted and looted like others. We pointed to the massacres perpetrated by the group against Muslims all over the country. We pointed to the group’s killings of prominent scholars of Islam, like Sheikh Ja’afar and Sheikh Albani; the attempt on the life of Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, as well as bombings of mosques, to make the Christians reason with what we were saying.
We reminded them that it is better that we consider these people as what they are, that is, criminals using religion as a fig leaf.
Unfortunately, some religious zealots and political jobbers decided not to reason with all these. They found a handy way of stereotyping Muslims in furtherance of their scaremongering, which they found to be an effective means of attracting others to their interests. They found, in the Boko Haram activities, a rare chance to tilt the advantage towards them.
Clearly, the long period this war has taken and the realities that were exposed are enough to make any well meaning Nigerian to refrain from exploiting the Boko Haram crisis towards achieving any selfish agenda either religious or political. But the recent deterioration of the security situation in the country only bared the fact that the agents of destruction, who will go to any length to achieve their goals, even if that could destroy the country, are still waiting for any chance to carry out their agenda.
Muhammad Mahmud can be reached@email@example.com