Sallah Message: Buhari Says Violent Extremism Greatest Challenge

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As Nigerian Muslims join the rest of the Islamic world to mark Eid-el-Kabir, political, traditional, and religious leaders in the country called on the faithful to imbibe the spirit of sacrifice and selfless service, which is the reason for the Eid al-Adha or Eid Qurban, also called the “Festival of the Sacrifice”.

President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura, Katsina State, lamented the scourge of violent extremism in Islamic religion, describing it as the greatest challenge facing the religion today. According to the President, “extremism is like a cancer, which must be detected and destroyed from its early stages of growth,” assuring Nigerians that Boko Haram terrorism, kidnappings and other forms of banditry “would be dealt with uncompromisingly until we see the back of these evils plaguing our country.”
 
The president who argued that Islam is a religion of peace, advised fellow Muslims to shun the idea of violent extremism and its evil influence, regretting that the trend is giving Islam a bad name. He also remarked that the greatest commitment Muslims could give to Islam is to put its good virtues into practice and also make justice and righteousness the guiding principle of their everyday lives.

A statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, quoted Buhari as saying, “Islam is a religion of peace and we should avoid violent extremist ideas that give Islam a wrong name because our conduct leave more lasting positive impressions than what we say by word of mouth.”

He also said the president regretted that “violent extremism is the greatest challenge facing Islam today,” adding that “the only way we can neutralise its evil influence is to distance ourselves from the activities and teachings of those who preach indiscriminate violence against innocent people, and this flies in the face of the teachings of Islam.”

According to Shehu, Buhari advised parents to “protect their children from the deadly exposure to violent extremists who manipulate and exploit those children for their own evil agenda.” He also said the president blamed the emergence and eventual stay of Boko Haram on the silence Muslim societies whom he said looked the other way when proponents of the terrorist group began to preach violence in the beginning to those he described as gullible followers.

According to the statement, Buhari added that “extremism is like a cancer, which must be detected and destroyed from its early stages of growth,” assuring Nigerians that Boko Haram terrorism, kidnappings and other forms of banditry “would be dealt with uncompromisingly until we see the back of these evils plaguing our country.”

It also said the president noted that despite occasional setbacks in the war against Boko Haram, the terrorists had been largely subdued in a way that they no longer possess the capacity to occupy any part of the country. Furthermore, Shehu said Buhari disclosed that the armed forces were not only getting more equipped and trained, but also being mobilized to intensify the battle against terrorism in federal government’s bid to ensure the protection of citizens. The statement added that Buhari urged Muslims to be tolerant and continue to work for peace, unity, national integration, and peaceful coexistence.

In separate messages yesterday, Nigerian leaders urged Muslims and, indeed, all Nigerians to follow the virtues of sincere submission and unflinching faith, like Prophet Ibrahim, saying this is the whole essence of Eid-el Kabir celebration.