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Freedom of Speech: Ahmadiyya underscores peaceful co-existence



The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has underscores peaceful co-existence among people of different Faiths.

The group, which did this at this at its annual Peace Symposium in New Zealand, dissected the effects of hate speech on attacks among adherents of different religions in the World.

“With an increasing scrutiny of what constitutes freedom of speech, the theme for this year’s symposium has been chosen as ‘Free Speech or Hate Speech – Where Do You Draw the Line?’” the group said in a statement.

At this year’s symposium, Three Kings, Auckland, speakers and scholars discussed the chosen theme in the light of current issues.

In a statement, the Ahmadiyya community said a panel of speakers featuring Labour Member of Parliament for Mt Roskill, Honourable Michael Wood, Journalist Paula Penfold (Stuff Circuit Investigative Unit), Dr Rob Kilpatrick – Director of Traidmission, and Imam Mustenser Qamar, Minister of Religion, would try and tackle what may be considered appropriate and what may constitute stepping over the line.

The annual peace symposium is a regular event in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s annual calendar, bringing together people from all walks of life representing different faith groups.

By discussing topical and sometimes controversial issues, the symposium aims to address the difficulties faced by individuals in the society.

Similar symposia are organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community the world over, with an aim to bring communities closer, and to encourage dialogue for peaceful coexistence.

“Since we held our last peace symposium a year ago, New Zealand has faced one of the biggest challenges in the life of this young nation – namely the extremist attacks on innocent people in Christchurch,” said the president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in New Zealand, Mr Bashir Khan.

“The diversity that is our strength has been tested to its extreme by a faction of the society we didn’t think existed. It is in this backdrop that we as a community decided to discuss this controversial topic – namely what freedoms can one enjoy in the modern world without endangering the peace in the society,” Khan said.

The New Zealand branch of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was established in 1987 and is a registered charitable organisation that endeavors to be an active and integrated community within New Zealand society.

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  1. Jarrod Esquerra

    November 11, 2019 at 11:13 pm

    very cool

  2. Santana Stroman

    November 11, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    very cool

  3. Lance Vukich

    November 11, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    very cool

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NAHCON reads riot act to state pilgrims’ boards, tour operators



NAHCON reads riot act to state pilgrims’ boards, tour operators

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has read the riot act to States’ Muslim pilgrims welfare board in Nigeria over fear of improper utilization of funds for Hajj and Umrah services.

The commission also warned Licensed Tour Operators over high number of complaints received from 2019 pilgrims on services being rendered not being commensurate with package paid for, stated that it would look into the complaints.

Giving this hint in a statement, NAHCON declared that the pilgrims boards must also run separate accounts for Hajj and Umrah.

Stating its readiness to monitor the accounts of Hajj operators, NAHCON maintained in a statement by Head of Public Affairs Unit, Fatima Sanda Usara, that it would “ensure full compliance and proper utilization of the funds.”

The commission also gave a green light to states Muslim pilgrims welfare board in Nigeria to venture into Umrah operations in order to boost their revenue profiles.

The go-ahead was given during the “NAHCON’S review meeting Of 2019 Hajj and first preparatory meeting On 2020 Hajj In Hajj House with SPWB/A/Cs and Licensed Tour Operators,” the statment5 read.

Usara said that “Part of the agreement reached at the meeting according is that SPWBs will be allowed to conduct Umrah operations to boost their revenue generation at the state level.

However, NAHCON urges state pilgrims boards to ensure that they utilise qualified staffs for the Umrah operation.

“They must have dedicated and certified staff to run the Umrah services. They must also run separate accounts for Hajj and Umrah and NAHCON will monitor the accounts to ensure full compliance and proper utilization of the funds,” Usara said.

The statement read; “The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, (NAHCON) held its review meeting of 2019 Hajj and first preparatory meeting on 2020 Hajj firstly on Thursday, 24th October 2019 with Chief Executives of Pilgrims’ Welfare Boards/Agencies/Commissions. Those in attendance, apart from the two stakeholders earlier mentioned, were NAHCON Board members, its executive officers and management staff.  The Commission’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Barrister Abdullah Mukhtar Muhammad chaired both review meetings.

“The gatherings generally acknowledged the improvements made in the 2019 Hajj operations and in order to sustain the successes so far achieved, there was a call to maintain the spirit of teamwork and consultations. Also both gatherings congratulated NAHCON for moving into its new office. They described the building as a prestige to Hajj operations in Nigeria and good legacy of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The following are some of the issues discussed. On Makkah/Madina accommodation it was agreed that funds for booking of lodgings would be deposited early and directly to building owners for cheaper bargains. During operations, each state must deploy a minimum of one official to Madinah in advance of its pilgrims’ arrival for smoother coordination.”

On the issue of Masha’ir: in reference to the retreat in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa, the Commission lamented the several requests for extension of deadline for registration as compounding the Mina congestion problem.

“Therefore NAHCON cautioned both state boards and Licensed Tour Operators to abide by early registration and to stick to deadlines. The Commission assured that if this arrangement is respected, there is certainty that service providers in Saudi Arabia will reserve adequate space for pilgrims as requested in a formal communication.

“It is in relation to this that the Commission approved status quo to be maintained on remittance of Hajj fare; deadline for closure of registration will be announced in due course. Intending pilgrims are to deposit about N1.5m in three instalments to their states’ pilgrims’ boards in bank draft.”

As for Licensed Tour Operators, due to number of complaints received from pilgrims on services being rendered not being commensurate with package paid for, the commission said that measures have been taken to ensure that the package a pilgrim pays for is what will be served to them.

“Towards this, the Commission will define types of packages available and cost of each. The packages will be publicised in the mass media. Consequent upon this, state boards and Licensed Tour Operators must register all their pilgrims on the e-portal and particulars of the intending pilgrim be supplied on the portal. The Commission will not tolerate pilgrims being registered on portals other than that which it is created for. This deviation has hitherto remained an impediment to reliable data bank for security reasons, research and reference purposes.

“Similarly, Tour Operators have up to November 30th to submit online application forms for 2020 Hajj license to avoid disqualification.”

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Boko Haram not Islamic sect, group tells media



Boko Haram not Islamic sect, group tells media

Media organizations in Nigeria and abroad should desist from addressing Boko Haram insurgents as Islamic sect, an international group, the Organisation of Islamic Conference (IOC), has said.

What the Boko Haram members do, a document of the IOC sighted by New Telegraph on Thursday showed, is “a criminal act; it has absolutely nothing to do with Islam.”

Secretary General of the group, Eyad Madani, had earlier said during a three-day visit to Nigeria that activities of Boko Haram “are anti-Islam.”

The IOC scribe said: “The OIC has issued statements that … these people are outlaws. What they do is criminal act, it has absolutely nothing to do with Islam, Islamic teachings, the religion of Islam, the history, the culture, the civilization of Islam and we should identify them for what they are: as a terrorist group.”

The group in the new document reiterated that it is solidly behind Nigeria in its fight against insurgents.

We are also here to express our solidarity with Nigeria in facing up to this terrorist organisation and to condemn all terrorist acts they have been committing, and to show our condolences to the Nigerian people, to the families of those who were affected,” the IOC said.

Fielding questions from newsmen during his last visit to Nigeria Mr. Madani said the OIC delegation discussed its visions and priorities with the Nigerian government.

The organization, Madani said, intimated the President on what the OIC could do in terms of expressing its support, and its willingness to be actively involved in the war against the terrorist group.

When asked what concrete support Nigeria should expect from OIC, the Secretary General said since the crisis is multi-dimensional, OIC could be involved in many ways.

He said one of the ways OIC could be involved, is to “first to declare its position morally, to declare its position from the religious point of view.”

He said the conference is not a religious group, but a political organisation that has 57 member states, and each state is represented in the conference as a government.

“Nigeria is a member of OIC at the government level, so is Indonesia, so is Senegal, Saudi Arabia amongst others.

“But it has to express its concerns about the misuse of Islam morally and ethically. We are willing to do that if Nigerian government would allow us to.

“We will convene an inter-faith dialogue, because we feel that there is a lot to be said about the veracity of these (Boko Haram) claims, and to show the many aspects of similarities and living together between not only Christians and Muslims, but between all faiths and convictions,” he said.

He said Africa is a model of such tolerance, and its history is a history of tolerance, and that of living together. He added that the OIC, through its different organs, is available to the request of the federal government and would do all it could to help in alleviating the social and economic conditions in any area affected by the activities of insurgents.

The Federal Government, in a reaction to IOC’s stand noted; “the fact that the OIC has expressed its position of support and understanding at this hour of our challenges goes to show that OIC is playing its role to support any of its member states who had any problem, either socially, economically, religiously or otherwise.

“So this is something that should be a message to every Nigerian that OIC is a body that is willing and eager to come to the aid of its member states as is being known and explained by the secretary general.”

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Zakat Foundation surges beneficiary states to 21




akat and Sadaqat Foundation (ZSF) has said that it surged the number of states where Zakat was distributed from 17 in 2018 to 21 this year.

The foundation also said that it disbursed N220 million to over 2,647 beneficiaries.

Executive Director of the Foundation, Mr Sulaiman Olagunju, who, according to a statement, said this at the grand finale of Zakat distribution in Lagos State, maintained that the “organisation had empowered 2,647 people amounting to over N220 million under its 2019 Zakat distribution.”

“I am pleased to inform that the sum of N167,374,712 is being distributed to 1,664 beneficiaries in Lagos State to formally end this year’s Zakat distribution that began in June across the nation.

“The amount being disbursed here today is about N25 million more than that of last year that stood at N142,938,905 in the state,” Olagunju was quoted to have said.

The executive Director continued; “With the support of Zakat payers and other well-spirited individuals, the foundation was able to increase the number of states where Zakat was distributed from 17 in 2018 to 21 this year.”

According to him, in 2019, the four new states where the foundation distributed Zakat funds in 2019 were Kogi, Nazarawa, Niger and Zamfara.

“It is noteworthy that despite the economic situation of the country, we were able to move up Zakat collection from N318,152,130 at the end of October 2018 to N325,346,697 as at September 2019.

“The amount of Zakat disbursed so far this year, including the one being distributed today across the 21 states, stands at N220,348,391 to 2647 beneficiaries.

“This show a slight increase of about N16 million above last year’s disbursement.’’

Ayedun Aisha, a 200 level student of Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka, Lagos receiving a motorised wheelchair from Zakat & Sadaqat Foundation on Sunday in Lagos.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Foundation, Dr Tajudeen Yusuf, said that the collection and distribution of Zakat “is an obligation that all Muslims owe to Allah.

“In the same vein, we as recipients, must see this as an opportunity to improve our circumstance from being needy to being on the path of prosperity.’’

Yusuf said that the activities of the foundation, as an NGO, is geared towards contributing to he nation-building.

“Just like being experienced in the conventional tax collection, there is need to widen the Zakat payer bracket.

“There are still many able Muslims, who may not know that a foundation like ours exists who collect and distribute Zakat.

“It is, therefore, the duty of our current payers to introduce us to these categories of Muslims,’’ he said.

Also speaking at the occasion, Dr Abdullah Shuaib, Executive Director of Jaiz Charity Foundation, called for collaboration between the Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation and Lagos State Government towards alleviating poverty among the populace.

He urged the foundation to liaise with the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in this regard.

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How Hajj commission coughed out N2.4bn for Abuja office construction




resh fact has emerged on how the National Hajj Commussion of Nigeria raised N2.4 billion out of the total sum of N2.987 billion spent for the construction of its new Headquarters in Abuja. .

The facility, a document of NAHCON sighted by New Telegram showed, cost the commission N2.4 billion, representing 97.6 per cent of the total amount, while the Federal Government allocated N587 million representing, 2.4 per cent for the construction.

Head of the public affairs division of NAHCON, Fatima Usara, had, while confirming the development to newsmen, said the new office facility was located at Zakaria Maimalari Street, Central Business District Abuja.

The commission, Usara said, spent N2.4 billion, representing 97.6 per cent of the total amount.

The Federal Government, she added, allocated N587 million representing, 2.4 per cent.

The amount, she said, was raised by NAHCON through savings and internally generated revenue.

“The Federal Executive Council had in June 2017 approved the purchase of the building to serve as the permanent headquarters of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria NAHCON,” the document, which was validated by Usara read.

The commission had been operating in a temporary office since its establishment in 2006.

Meanwhile, four Muslim organisations have congratulated the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on its relocation to its permanent office.

The Islamic organisations also praised President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership style which they said culminated in infusing financial discipline, self-reliance drive and efficient service delivery in hajj administration in the last five years.

The commission had on Tuesday formally relocated to the permanent headquarters, Hajj House, formerly Metro Plaza, in Abuja. The property was acquired in 2017.

According to NAHCON’s tweeter handle, which was monitored by newsmen in Abuja, the relocation started a fortnight ago.

The Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN), Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria (MMWG), Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), and Media Awareness Initiative for Hajj (MAIHAJ) said they were proud of “this great feat” recorded by the apex hajj regulating body in the country.

In a statement signed by Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Ibrahim Abdullahi, Ibrahim Muhammed and Abdullahi Adamu for MMPN, MMWG, IHR and MAIHAJ, respectively, the organisations described the development as a testament to the quality of the leadership at the hajj commission.

The property, which is now NAHCON’s corporate headquarters, consists of conference halls, boardrooms and a training centre and two annexes which NAHCON said would be rented out for revenue generation towards achieving financial autonomy.

“We congratulate the entire Muslim Ummah, hajj stakeholders and the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria for relocating to the Hajj House (formerly known as Metro Plaza) which now serves as the permanent head office for hajj and umrah-related affairs in Nigeria.

“The purchase of the Metro Plaza by a non-revenue generating agency shows a high level of financial discipline and vision on the part of the leadership of the commission.

“Relocation to the new gigantic office will create conducive atmosphere for the staff of the commission, thereby raising their output for the benefit of pilgrims, reduce the money spent by the commission in renting halls to host meetings, seminars and conferences and also serve as sources of revenue for the commission.

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MSSN demands better safety, security for girl-child



MSSN demands better safety,  security for girl-child

The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) has advocated the strengthening of safety and security for girls across the world against exploitation, dehumanisation and other forms of unfair treatment.

The association particularly condemned all acts of violation of the rights of Muslim girls in Nigeria and demanded the immediate end to the acts.

The MSSN made the advocacy and condemnation in a statement by its National Public Relations Officer, AbdulAzeez Oladejo, in respect of this year’s edition of the International Day of the Girl Child.

It noted that in 2012, the United Nations set aside the date as the International Day of the Girl Child to highlight and address the needs and challenges the girl child and promote their empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.

But the group expressed regrets that while the world was making a steady progress towards realising this goal, some people had continued to consciously victimise, exploit and dehumanise girls.

According to the MSSN, the ability of the United Nations to further stipulate appropriate sanctions for perpetrators of such deviant activities will go a long way in safeguarding the female children.

The statement reads in part: “To us as Muslim students, a day like this is important as it reminds us that there are people who are still committed to the lofty goal of raising the status of the girl-child as espoused by Islam.

“It also tells us that there are concerted efforts against the perpetration of deviant activities (like gender inequality, forced labour, forced marriage, humiliating cultural practices, denial of right to education and denial of right to inheritance) against the girl-child in third world countries, including Nigeria.

“Most importantly, this day reminds us of the traumatic experiences of the Muslim girls across the country because of their resolve to exhibit their fundamental human rights of using hijab as they pursue their education; from nine-year old Aisha AbdulAleem in Ogun State to Muslim girls in Lagos State and those at the International School, Ibadan. This calls for action because ensuring the rights and safe space for the girls should be beyond rhetoric.

“We use the occasion of this year’s edition of the International Day of the Girl Child to condemn all acts of violation of rights of Muslim girl across the country, while assuring all those who are currently experiencing any form of victimisation that Allah’s help is indeed near.”

“We also wish that the Muslim girl should be motivated by the theme for this year’s International Day of the Girl Child (Girl Force: Unscripted, Unstoppable) and know that the Muslim girl is simply unscripted and unstoppable.”

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Rites in Islam not based on Qur’an, Sunnah sophistry, delusion –Don



professor of Middle Eastern, North African and Cultural Studies, Afis Oladosu, has declared that any religion rite that is not based on Quran and Hadith is indulgence in sophistry and delusion.

Oladosu, Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan, who said this in a document sighted by New Telegraph juxtaposed the Ashura celebrations between the Sunni and Shia Muslim sects against the ideals of Islam and the tradition of Prophet Muhammad.

“It is settled in orthodox Islam that the day of Ashura, which is derived from the Arabic word ‘Ashr’, meaning ‘ten’, is the 10th day of the first month (Muharram) of the Islamic lunar year. The counting of this calendar began in Islamic history with the migration of the Prophet of Islam from Makkah to Madinah in 622 CE.

“It is related in Islamic tradition that consequent upon his arrival to Madinah, Prophet Muhammad discovered that the Jews were in the habit of observing the 10th and 11th days of Muharram as fasting in commemoration of the many wondrous blessings they received from the Almighty in history, including the favour He granted to them when He delivered them from the captivity of Pharaoh in Egypt,” he said.

The Prophet, according to him, recommended fasting on this day, the 10th and the day before, ninth, based on the argument that Muslims were equally worthy heirs and partakers of the eternal blessings of the Almighty to Prophet Musa and the Jews. Fasting these two days is, however, not obligatory (fard).

“However, the Shia have since 680 CE upped the scale and invested the event with more significance beyond the tradition bequeathed to Muslims by the Prophet of Islam. They have seized upon the killing of Hussayn bn Ali by the army of the Ummayad ruler in Islamic history, Yazid, during a battle over political power and supremacy. Coincidentally, the event of the killing of Hussayn happened in the month of Muharram of the year.

“Thus, as far as orthodox Muslims are concerned, the Shia rituals during these days, the acts of mourning, of self-flagellation with chains and blades and of walking over burning charcoals to remember the sufferings of Hussayn supposedly went through, are all null and void. Any ritual that has no referential framework from the Qur’an and the tradition of the Prophet are nugatory and are indulgence in sophistry and delusion,” he said.

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Zakat: LEMU Lifts 203 indigents with N50 Million



Zakat: LEMU Lifts 203 indigents with N50 Million

The Lekki Muslim Ummah, (LEMU) has lifted  no fewer than 203 indigent Nigerians with N50 million, just as it called on well-meaning Nigerians to take the issue of charity with all the seriousness it deserves in order to address  the problem of falling living standards of most Nigerians.

New Telegraph gathered that over 300,000 applicants applied for empowerment from the faith-based organization  but a total of 203 comprising the poor, the needy, the sick and the less privileged in the state and beyond benefitted from the Zakat distribution.

Speaking during the distribution ceremony held at Vice Admiral Jubril Ayinla Multipurpose Hall, Lekki, the Zakat Committee Chairman,  Alhaji Yunus  Saliu said that LEMU made a remarkable progress in its Zakat collection efforts in year 2018/19. He said that total collection for the period was over N50 million compared to aboutN40 million in the preceding year, an impressive increase of 20%.

He explained that the recipients of the disbursements fall into five distinct categories to reflect of the nation’s economic situation, adding that the list of applicants was extraordinarily longer than the previous years.

According to him, a total of 79 were uplifted with cash under the poverty alleviation scheme while 62 were assisted under the economic empowerment category with 32 people given Scholarships and Educational Support. He added that 26 residents were assisted in the areas of Health and Well-being, while LEMU offset debt of   for N770,000 for 4 persons.

Saliu added that items such as tricycles, motor cycles, deep freezers, Sewing Machines were also given out to various people in need of tools to become financially independent.

On his part, LEMU’s Vice President Dr. AbduGaniy Labinjo urged the beneficiaries not to sell or misuse whatever was given to them, saying that Zakat was meant to empower and enhance their status so that they could also pay Zakat in the near future.

He urged wealthy Nigerians to emulate the culture of giving charity to the needy in accordance with the commandment of Almighty Allah, saying that zakat purifies wealth in the sight of Almighty Allah.

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Spiritual warfare: Muslim group supports military against Boko Haram



Spiritual warfare: Muslim group supports military against Boko Haram

The Muslim Congress (TMC) has declared readiness to be part of the plan by the Nigerian Army to use re-orientation, prayers and other “spiritual” means to starve the Boko Haram terrorist organisation of members.

The group offered to support the agenda of the military to adopt a ‘spiritual’ approach to combating the terrorist organisation, Boko Haram.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, had said at a recent seminar that the military would adopt “spiritual warfare” approach in tackling the menace of Boko Haram, a comment that had been met with antagonism from different quarters in the country.

The waali (coordinator) of the Ogun State chapter of TMC, Dr. Ibrahim Ogunkoya, in a statement, said the organisation was ready to be part of the army’s plan to use re-orientation, prayers and other “spiritual” means to starve the terrorist organisation of members.

Ogunkoya said: “It is sad for people to read negative meaning into innocent comments of our public officials. What the TMC understands by the Chief of Army Staff’s statement on spiritual approach to combating the Boko Haram is an attempt to prevent continuous indoctrination of vulnerable Nigerians to join the group or be sympathetic to its cause.

“This will encourage the spread the pristine Islamic message that is devoid of violence. This approach has our full supports as innocent Nigerians will not be brain-washed and manipulated to be part of the devilish Boko Haram agenda against the sovereign State of Nigeria.

“Nigerians should support this spiritual approach rather than criticise it if they are truly patriotic.

“By this development, The Muslim Congress (TMC) will intensify its drive towards enlightenment, re-orientation and spread of knowledge about the pristine Islam so that Nigerians, especially the youths, will not be indoctrinated by the Boko Haram.

“The Muslim Congress (TMC), therefore, wholly supports the spiritual approach of the military towards tackling religion-related crisis and insecurity in Nigeria.

“We implore Nigerians as individuals and groups to support this lofty idea with open mind and appreciate the ingenuity of the military in tackling the menace of Boko Haram ravaging the North Eastern states of the country.”

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Embrace integration to promote unity in diversity, Cleric tasks Nigerians



Nigerans have been charged to embrace integration to promote unity in diversity irrespective of our Tribal, Ethnic and Religion differences.

Founder of Morkaz Salam, Ojokoro, Shaykh Moshood Ramadhan Jubreel Al-ketuwy, who declared this in a special sermon also underscored the need for the Federal Government to tap on natural resources that Nigeria is blessed with, especially Agriculture for economy to boom.

Shaykh Moshood made the call during Friday sermon in commemorating the 59th, Independence Anniversary of Nigeria.

He used the medium to draw the attention of Federal Government of Nigeria on the need to shift their Concentraion from crude oil and make advantage of other gift of nature like : lime stone, Gold, Iron among others.

He urged Buhari- led administration to make use of the country’s good weather and span of arable land all over the country to intensify effort in making Agriculture practicable for Nigerians both on food and cash crops for exportations.

He tress further that Nigeria being the most populous nation and giant of Africa , 59 years is not a joke, he enjoined all Nigeria “to reflect deeply on this anniversary to change our ways, improve on the labour of our fore fathers not to put their effort in state of shamble.”

Shaykh Moshood also cautioned leaders to do away with all forms of vices; Corruption, Hate-speech, Electoral fraud, Selfish interest, Assassination, among others while Nigeran people were admonished to be more prayerful and stop committing sins : Kidnapping,Ritual killing, Violence attack, Hatred among others.

“Nigeria is full of bounties , one of the best country in the world , but what we are witnessing is a state of reverse direction , refrence was made to Qur’an 29 v 40 where people were purnished based on their iniquities,” he said.

He continued; “Our country is business friendly, the present administration is urged to create a more enabling atmosphere for investors to come to  Nigeria by improving on infrastructures such as good road network, Stable electricity, Adequate Security for lives and property, and Good portable water.

“All these if properly put in place will definitely boost our economy,” he said.

A special prayer session was held after the Juma’at service for the People in Government for Allah’s direction and to Nigerians as a whole in order to attain a greater heights in no distance future.

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Stakeholders demand religious freedom in schools



Stakeholders demand religious freedom in schools

The Muslim Stakeholders Forum has asked the Kwara state government to enforce the rights of all students in the state to religious freedom, irrespective of the original ownership of their schools.

The forum is made up of Muslim organisations like the Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Young Muslim Brothers and Sisters of Nigeria (YOUMBAS), Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN) as well as retired public officers, university lecturers and clerics.

Speaking to newsmen in Ilorin against the backdrop of a recent judgment of the Court of Appeal won by the state government against owners of some faith-based schools in the state, the chairman of the Muslim group, Malam Is-haq Abdulkarim, appealed to Christians in the state to allow peace to reign in schools and, indeed, throughout the state.

“You will recall that recently, there was about to be a religious crisis in the Ilorin metropolis as a result of actions pointing to a claim that being proprietors of faith-based schools already taken over by government, they still have full ownership.

“This made them (the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)) to take the state government to court; from High Court to Appeal Court, where they lost.

“With this judgment of the Court of Appeal which affirmed the earlier one delivered in 2016 by the Ilorin High Court, we hereby call on the Kwara State government through the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development to enforce the religious freedom of all students in all schools in the state, irrespective of the so-called original proprietors.

“We seize this opportunity to appeal to peace-loving Christians in the state to advise their brethren to allow peace to reign not only in our schools but throughout the state.

“We are concerned by this matter because our children in some Christian secondary schools originally owned by the Christian missions have been facing intimidation, harassment and denial on the basis of their faith – Islam. This is worrisome in a state with over 80 per cent Muslim population, of which 14 out of its 16 local governments have overwhelming Muslim majority,” he said.

Malam Abdulkarim also said that the judgment of Appeal Court on the matter implied that management and control of all grant-aided schools belonged to the Kwara State government and under the control of the governor.

“To insist that Muslims in all grant-aided schools must dress, pray and sing in Christian ways amounts to denial of their rights and such must not be allowed,” he added.

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