What Nigerian Muslims Can Learn from their French Brothers

Aug 05, 2016

The slain French Priest, Fr Jacques Hamel: well-meaning Muslims used his death to rekindle hope for humanity

Recently in Rouen, a suburb in France, two Muslim fanatics working for ISIS, entered a church in St-Etienne-du Rouvray, France and murdered an 86-year old Catholic priest celebrating morning mass after holding some people, including two nuns, hostage. The priest, Fr Jacques Hamel, was killed by having his throat slashed at the altar while his killers smiled at the nuns.
The two killers, both young men, were soon shot dead by the police as they ran outside the church, using the nuns as shields.
But the Muslim population in the community have vowed not to accord burial to one of the jihadists, Adel Kermiche, aged 19, because doing so would taint Islam.
Speaking to a local paper, Le Parisien, the president of the local Muslim Cultural Association, Mohammed Karabila, who is also the Imam of one of the local mosques, said, 'We are not going to taint Islam with this person (one of the killers, Adel).
'We won't participate in preparing the body or the burial,' Karabila further said, pointing out that what the murderer said was sinful which made him no longer part of their community.
As if that was not enough, the Muslim Community also attended the Sunday Mass at the same church where the priest was killed in a rare show of solidarity.
According to reports, some sat in the front row across from the altar where the priest was murdered. They were joined in the congregation by one of the nuns who was earlier taken hostage.
In another part of the European continent, other Moslems also showed solidarity by joining in masses in Italy, precisely in Milan and Rome. Outside the cathedral in Rouen, close to St-Etienne-du Rouvray where the priest died, people applauded a group of Moslems who carried a banner that read, ''Love for all, hate for none''.
The arch-bishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, said of the grieving Moslems, 'We are very moved by the presence of our Moslem friends and I believe it is a courageous act that they did by coming to us.'
We totally concur with the bishop that it was a courageous act. It is also a big plus to inter-religious relationship in a world where a small group of perverts masquerading as fanatics have held the world hostage, maiming and killing the so-called infidels or non-believers.
The activities of these blood thirsty group have continued owing largely to the conspiracy of silence by the Moslem world and one of the places where this has been very evident is Nigeria.
The refusal or failure of the Moslem body to speak against atrocities perpetrated by their Muslim brothers and sisters has exacerbated the chasm between the two religions which has spilled into other spheres, including politics.
The killing of Christians in Nigeria has always been wished away as irrelevant, while the killers are encouraged to do more. Even the president of the country, a Moslem, has through his actions and inactions appeared to be part of this conspiracy of silence.
But just as it appeared that humanity is about to be doomed, the action of the Muslims in France and Italy who showed solidarity with the Christians on the killing of the Catholic priest has rekindled hope that all hope is not lost.
Their action is a wake-up call to other Muslims the world over, especially in Nigeria, to jettison their garb of hatred, fanaticism and intolerance and embrace love and understanding. It is the only way the madness which has enveloped the world will stop. The moment those responsible for the carnage begin to know that they are on their own, without support from their own people, it is possible that their enthusiasm will wane and eventually they may become human like the rest of the sane world.
Once more, we applaud the action of the Muslims in France and Italy and pray and hope that it will be the harbinger of better days ahead in the relationship among the various religions.      
May the soul of Rev Fr Jacques Hamel rest in peace.



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