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The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) under the leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has said that, unless it is based on mutual understanding and for the purpose of an agreed upon public interest and common good (maslaha), the demolition of a place of worship, either synagogue, church or mosque, is provocative, condemnable and unacceptable under whatever guise.
The Deputy Secretary-General of the council, Prof. Salisu Shehu, in a statement on Thursday night, however said that the council had refrained from making a public statement on the controversial demolition of the Trans-Amadi Mosque in Rivers State because it has not conclude its investigations.
He said the findings are still ongoing and contacts and talks are being made on the matter at the highest levels.
“Right at the time the news broke on the purported demolition of the Trans-Amadi Mosque in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, the position it took has been the one enjoined by the Qur’an in Verse 6, Chapter 49, that, “Believers, when an ungodly person brings to you a piece of news, carefully ascertain its truth, lest you should hurt a people unwittingly and thereafter repent at what you did.”
“However, the deluge of reactions and counter-reactions and the emotions, sentiments and heat generated have made it necessary to make a public pronouncement on it. So far, as its investigations proceed and as issues around the matter continue to unfold, the council is only further being convinced and satisfied that the position it has taken is surely the rightful and most appropriate one.” Shehu said.
According to him, demolitions of any place of worships as it were, it has the potency of generating hate, hostility and even violence in the society.
He said that it is, therefore, not surprising that the Trans-Amadi Mosque issue has generated a great deal of tension and unprecedented hostile exchanges in the mainstream and social media.
He said, “In this regard, the council hereby calls upon Muslims to continue to exercise restraint and to avoid taking laws into their hand while it handles the matter and prosecutes it to its logical conclusion.
He said that while the council’s statement was not meant to divulge the findings of the investigations of the council, to the public, it is clear that the best way to resolve this matter is through high level dialogue and consultations which the leadership has been doing for the past several days.
“It is on this note that the council calls upon all parties, stakeholders and interest groups involved in this matter to avoid making public pronouncements that will keep on heating the polity thereby generating avoidable tension and fears in the country.
“The council wishes to further assure the Muslim Ummah that it will go to any length and will never relent in pursuing the matter and ensuring that it is resolved peacefully and just-fully,” Shehu said.
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