By Abdallah el-Kurebe
The Da’wah Coordination Council of Nigeria, a conglomeration of 47 Muslim organisations in the country has condemned in strong terms, the recent publication of a cartoon by a French magazine.
In a statement issued to Journalists in Sokoto on Monday, the President of the Council, Mohammad Lawal Maidoki observed that the magazine was bent on using its pen to promote destructions of lives and properties in the name of Journalism.
According to the President, “Although we believe in the freedom of speech; freedom of association; freedom of religion and all other rights such as right of protection; right to security of life and property among others, we in strong terms, express our anger and total objection and hereby condemn the publication of the new cartoon by the French magazine.”
Maidoki stressed that the Muslim world and the non-Muslims, who respect the personality of Prophet Muhammad were not happy “with the action of the magazine, the French government and the UN.”
He observed that in spite of freedom of speech, there is freedom as well as laws that protect not only dignitaries but also ordinary persons, “not to talk of a prophet who is a part of the symbol of our faith.”
Maidoki added that much as Muslims were enjoined to believe and respect all prophets, “we believe that no doctrine of any religion enjoins insults on other people’s belief.”
He further stressed that although Muslims were not in support of any violence that could lead to destructions of lives and properties, they do not joke with the person of prophet Muhammad “and we do not take it lightly or fold our arms while he is being ridiculed, abused or even disrespected by anybody.”
Acknowledging that Journalism was not about creating confusion, promoting crisis or encouraging hate between communities , countries or regions, Maidoki added that “We believe that the ethics of the profession is against character assassination, libel or slander.
“How many journalists are now in detention or prisons in different countries simply because they wrote articles that are considered to incite people against governments,” he said asking that if such could not be tolerated, why should the Muslims support the magazine for publishing a cartoon that defame or radicle the prophet?
He emphasised that the western world should not take Muslims as “impatient, fundamentalists or fanatics simply for reacting to actions that ridicule our religion and the prophet.”
The Council condemned the actions of individuals, groups, governments or organisations that participated in any rally which supported Charlie Hebdo. “Islam is a religion of peace and certainly history will never forgive them.”