26th November, 2021
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has cautioned traditionalists against invading Iwo town, noting that such would be an invitation to chaos and disregard for the rule of law.
The Traditional Worshippers Association of Osun State had accused Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi of disrespecting traditional religion.
They gave the monarch a 21-day ultimatum to publicly apologize for his statements against traditionalists or face the consequences.
A statement on Friday by MURIC director, Prof Ishaq Akintola said indigenes were likely to come out in defense of their king, a situation that may result in a bloody clash.
The statement reads:
“The Traditional Religion Worshippers Association (TRWASO) yesterday renewed its threat to invade Iwo, Osun State over what it described as unacceptable statements made by the Oluwo of Iwo. But the group also warned the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), to stay away because it is not fighting Muslims (https://www.blueprint.ng/osun-traditionalists-draw-battle-with-oluwo-warn-muric-to-stay-away/).
“Let us make some things very clear. Firstly, the warning that MURIC should stay away is absolutely unnecessary because we never said we were coming to Iwo to stop the invasion. MURIC is an intellectual group whose method resides in engaging people in discourse, enlightening the citizenry, particularly Muslims, about their Allah-given and fundamental human rights and protecting those basic civil rights. An intellectual group does not wield weapons or engage in fracas. We are civilised citizens, not hoodlums.
“Secondly, we appreciate the statement made by the traditionalists yesterday particularly the part where they said, ‘let me sound a note of caution to MURIC, be honest, fair and just in your dealings and utterances. We are not fighting Islam or Oba Oluwo because he is a Muslim king. After all, he is not the only Muslim king and he is not the only wise one, (least to say) that others are not knowledgeable of their personal religion and role as Oba.’
“This statement is the beginning of dialogue and, hopefully, some modicum of understanding between us and the traditionalists. As an Islamic group, we will never be unfair or unjust to any individual or group. Neither does our religion teach or allow injustice or the use of abusive words against people of other faiths.
“This brings us to the threat of invasion made by the traditionalists. Our message to those who threaten to invade Iwo is this: You will be seen as the aggressors if you march on Iwo. Afterall Oluwo did not come to your headquarters to attack you. Your grouse is his speech which you claim is provocative. An aggrieved but law abiding citizen who wants to lodge a report will go to the police station, not the other party’s house.
“Invasion of Iwo will amount to wilful aggression capable of occasioning harm. It will be unlawful assembly. What MURIC will advise the aggrieved traditionalists is to go to Osogbo. That is the seat of government, not Iwo. It is only a spirit of belligerence that will make them invade Iwo town. This may lead to confrontation.
“The traditionalists also have an alternative if they want to follow due process and respect social decorum. They should go to court if they have evidence of invectives poured on their gods and idols by the Oluwo. The traditionalists made a good point when they asked us if we would allow anyone to insult our Prophet (SAW). They are correct to that extent. But they should not be too aggressive.
“As an Islamic group, it behoves us to let the traditionalists (including the people of Iwo) know that Islam does not allow Muslims to abuse other faiths and their gods. The Glorious Qur’an has already warned us on this when it said, ‘Do not revile what they worship besides Allah, lest they vilify Allah out of spite…’(6:108).
“For this reason, Muslims should not insult what other people worship. The Qur’an also amplifies this further by saying what others worship are for them and what the Muslims worship is for the Muslims (110:1-6). Therefore our philosophy in MURIC is noninterference in the religious practices of other groups so long as they also leave us alone to freely practice our own. In short, we in MURIC do not support pouring abuses on traditionalists, Christians or people of other faiths.
“If it is true that Oluwo has poured invectives on traditional religion, there are civilized ways to go about it.It should not be by threatening invasion. There are laws for such situations. Why do we have a government? Democracy promotes rule of law but we all must first respect that rule of law. To respect the rule of law, the traditionalists must not threaten to invade any city. They should allow the law to act for them if anyone in Iwo has violated the law.
“Concerning the insinuation that we are supporting Oluwo in wrongdoing, we assure the traditionalists that MURIC does not engage in mischief. We are promoters of justice and fairness. We will not support any wrongdoer just because he is a Muslim (Qur’an 4:135).
“The way out is for the traditionalists to go to court. The law will protect them. The court can make a pronouncement barring Oluwo from making such statements in the future and he will be acting in contempt of court ruling if he repeats it. He is not above the law.
“But the same law will bare its fangs against the traditionalists if they ignore due process and decide to take the law into their hands. Any invasion of Iwo town will be recorded by the indigenes. Even old market women have cameras in their handsets these days. A lot of exhibit will be compiled against them, including the threats issued by them earlier. Traditionalists should not complacently assume that they can always have their way. That will be impunity. The climate has changed. The boastful l’etat cest moi is now anachronistic.
“The traditionalists said they are not fighting Muslims but they want to invade a city whose population is 90% Muslims. Is the Oluwo not a Muslim? Is this not divide et impera? Will it not be easy for them to deal with the remaining Muslims after intimidating the Oluwo? Is it going to be easy entering the city and going straight to the palace to pick the king?
“Going by the antecedent of traditional worshippers, tears, blood and sorrow are their characteristic footprints wherever they invade like this. Many Muslims were injured in mosques invaded in Ekiti, Ogun and Osun states in the past few months. As we speak, there is a case in the Osogbo High Court over the murder of a Muslim leader killed a few months ago when traditionalists attacked Muslims at an Islamic programme.
“MURIC advises the people of Iwo to go about their normal and legitimate businesses without fear. They should continue to worship freely and allow others to worship. Based on the warnings in Qur’an 6:108 and 110:1- 6, sermons and speeches particularly in mosques and public gatherings should be devoid of inflammatory remarks, threats or derisive statements calculated at demeaning other faiths. These are the rules set by Islam for the promotion of religious tolerance and interfaith love.
“Nonetheless, as we seek peace and offer the traditionalists alternative courses, we take serious note of the spiritual warfare launched by the traditionalists against Iwo town. In the group’s statement yesterday, it called on traditionalists all over the world and told them, ‘To all Onisese across the world, as the President of TRWASO, I call on you today to be involved. From today 25th November, let us offer a kolanut each on daily basis to our Orisa to seek their intervention by 30th November. (it is never too late to join the train).’
“This is definitely a declaration of spiritual warfare. We cannot know their intention, but Allah knows both the open and the hidden. If they get away with this, they will continue the intimidation till kingdom comes. We therefore call on Muslim individuals, groups and mosques all over the world to pray fervently for the protection of Iwo town, Yorubaland and the whole of Nigeria.
“Beginning from today, Friday, 26th November, 2021, let us pray for peace and security. Pray for religious harmony and love among our people. Remember to use Ayat al-Kursiyyu severally. In particular, we implore you to observe a fast on Monday and to recite surat al-Fiil (lilafi) at least seven times after subhi prayer on Tuesday, 30th November, 2021 which is the deadline given by the traditionalists to invade Iwo, the city of Islam.
“Asalatu groups are advised to use ayudafiu while Islamic scholars should concentrate on using saifi from the comfort of their homes on that day. We have assurance that Muslims shall not be disgraced. We charge members of MURIC in all its state branches North and South throughout Nigeria to observe the fast on Monday and to engage the services of Islamic scholars in prayers for the city of Iwo. The city of Islam must not fall. Whoever wants to blame us should remember that the traditionalists started the spiritual warfare by publicly calling on their faithfuls to start rituals on this matter.
“To all traditionalists across the world, we assure you all that we believe in religious tolerance. Muslims have no right to disturb your worship just as you have no right to intimidate Muslims. Our prayers are not targeted at you. We are not at war. Our prayers are targeted only at those who intimidate us and threaten our city. But we offer them peace if they desist. We, therefore, urge Muslims to remain calm and law-abiding, but prayerful and watchful.
“We reiterate our message to both the government of Osun and the state police command. Nigerian Muslims will hold both of them responsible if there is any breakdown of law and order in Iwo over these altercations. The traditionalists have repeated their notice to illegally, unlawfully, illegitimately and unconstitutionally invade a town in Osun State which falls within their jurisdiction. Both the government and the security agencies know the preemptive steps to take. It will be dereliction of duty if they fail to take it. It had better not happen.”