Dear Muslim Friends, Ishaq Akintola Might Not Be Your Best Spokesperson

Mr. Ishaq Akintola, a lecturer, had over the years been successful in grabbing media headlines with the occasional aggressive and inciting statements he issued under the banner of Muslims Rights Concern, MURIC.

The latest of such statements purportedly issued to defend the interest of Muslims was the ultimatum he issued to earlier this week to popular musician, Folarin Falana, also known as Falz, on the trending video, ‘This is Nigeria. ’‎

The MURIC boss is angry that some dancers covered themselves up with ‘hijab’ in the manner of some female practitioners of Islamic religion, while dancing ‘Shaku Shaku’ in the popular video.

Mr. Akintola who claimed to be a professor of Islamic Eschatology and had become famous for his intolerance on issues that affect his religious leaning, threatened to sue the singer if he failed to withdraw the video and issue an apology to ‘Nigerians’ within seven days in the statement.

My first reaction to the statement was that Mr. Akintola should not hide under the cloak of ‘Nigerians’ to perpetuate his extremist ideas. Open minded and forward thinking Nigerians understand the message in the video and are not seeking apology. If anything, they are applauding Falz for using his platform to ‘speak truth’ to government. I also doubt that all Muslims are in support of Mr. Ishaq’s stand on the video.

If Mr. Akintola is so much concerned about the protecting “Muslim dressing”, he should be in Sambisa by now trying to axe down Boko Haram leaders who had on many occasions, appeared in videos with turbans like his. Except Mr. Akintola wants us to believe that it is okay for the leaders of the terrorist group to dress in ‘islamic attire,’ but wrong for an artiste to use same as an instrument for social awakening.

In a rather warped way of reasoning, Mr. Akintola seemed to be comfortable seeing Muslim sisters all covered up in hijabs under the captivity of Boko Haram as long as they are not dancing Shaku Shaku. After all, he did say, “At least none of the Chibok girls have been seen dancing like a drunkard. They are always in pensive mood. Do they have any cause to be dancing? Are they happy?”

Thus, it would seem that to the MURIC boss, it was no big deal that the girls were in captivity as far as they were not seen dancing like drunks. This is the height of illogicality, I must honestly say!

Again, Mr. Akintola should spare us the ethnic unrest he tried to spark with his hypocritical defense of the ‘Fulani culture.’ Nigerians are discerning enough to know that he merely brought that in so that it would not appear as if his only grouse with the video was the use of hijab. The truth is, Mr. Akintola succeeded in putting himself out as not just a bigot, but also an anarchist with the statement he released on the Falz’s video.

Yes, it is true that no group of people should be identified with just a ‘single identity,’ but we would not, because of political correctness keep mum in the face of looming danger. The herdsmen-farmers crisis is a serious issue that deserves the attention of the government. It should not be used as a gimmick to legitimize bigotry.

This is not he first time Mr. Akintola would be making loose comments. It will be recalled that some months ago, WAEC had to change its examination timetable for peace to reign following a statement in which Mr. Akintola threatened violence except the timetable is adjusted.

“Until something starts happening, until the Muslims start disrupting WAEC examination, until Muslims start tearing WAEC examination materials, that is when government will start paying attention,” he had said at the time while complaining that the schedule for one of the papers in the examination clashed with the time for the Muslim prayer.

One is thus left to wonder if he is encouraging Muslims to go on rampage anytime a decision which they perceived as not being in alignment with their faith is made?

I am all for demanding for one’s right anytime one feels marginalized, but at no time should such demands be backed up with threats of violence. There is a reason protest are always encouraged to be ‘peaceful’ but when an individual makes a statement that encourages violence, his or her ideology must be checked.

Mr. Akintola who threatened ‘fire and brimstone’ because of an examination timetable just recently in a display of wanton hypocrisy, condemned the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for agitating for the release of Leah Sharibu who has been in the custody of ‘turban wearing’ Boko Haram terrorists.

He described CAN agitation as “irrational, infantile, and ungodly,” in a statement he issued in reaction to the call for release of the Christian girl by the Association.

He did not see the folly in encouraging violence because a non-religious body fixed examination on a Friday, but saw the call by a group for the release of a young girl who has been kept away from her parents for months as ‘divisive’. The inconsistencies of Mr. Akintola is baffling!

Islam is a religion of peace, but with caustic statements constantly ascribed to Mr. Akintola, one begins to doubt if he is a true representative of practitioners of the religion. If our Muslim brothers and sisters indeed want non Muslims to see how peaceful Islam is, it is important that they firmly condemn Mr. Akintola’s propensity to agitate for violence.

For a religion with reputation disadvantage, a person like Mr. Akintola would only succeed if in legitimizing the supposed media bias against it if he continues with his hypocritical and threats laden statements.

Banjo Damilola Noimat is a converted Christian. She can be reached on Twitter: @RealBanjo or email: damilolabanjo1@gmail.com

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