By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
As Christians worldwide celebrate Easter, a group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has urged Nigerian Christians to forge a common front with their Muslim compatriots in the fight against disease, insecurity, illiteracy, ethnic bigotry and religious extremism which are the common enemies of humanity.
The advice was contained in the group’s Easter message signed by Professor Ishaq Akintola, its Director and Founder in Abuja on Monday.
MURIC specifically charged Nigerians of different religious leanings to eschew bitterness and rancor.
It further harped on religious leaders to sink their differences and come together in recognition of the fact that “we need one another to face our common enemies, namely, disease, insecurity, illiteracy, ethnic bigotry and religious extremism”.
It equally urged the body of Christ in Nigeria to recall the lessons of forbearance, tolerance and love which are embedded in Easter.
According to the MURIC statement, “We felicitate with Nigerian Christians on the occasion of the Easter season. We urge the body of Christ in Nigeria to recall the lessons of forbearance, tolerance and love which are embedded in Easter.
“Today’s (yesterday’s) events are particularly didactic as the whole of mankind faces a common enemy, viz, COVID-19. All the scientists of the world have not been able to come up with a solution to stop the massive deaths. It has defied our atomic and nuclear weapons, killing us in our thousands on a daily basis.
“This common enemy has shown that it does not discriminate between religions.
“Muslims have been forced to desert the mosques on Friday. The Ka’abah has been locked up for weeks. Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) was suspended. Like the sword of Damocles, the fear of this same Corona virus hangs above hajj 2020. Muslims may not congregate as usual during this fast-approaching Ramadan.
“For the first time in a very long period, Christians marked Easter without procession. Palm Sunday was streamed live and people had to watch and listen from their homes. Sunday services in church have been without the faithful for weeks.
“Can we now see clearly that we have been insulating ourselves against the wrong targets? The streets of the Vatican are empty, those of Makkah and Madinah are deserted. COVID-19 reigns supreme. Can we all see now? “Diseases are our enemy, not the Christians or the Muslims. Ignorance, criminals, ethnic jingoists and religious fanatics are our common foes. These are the enemies we must fight, not one another.
“MURIC charges Nigerians of different religious leanings to eschew bitterness and rancor. We urge religious leaders to sink their differences.
“We must come together willy-nilly in recognition of the fact that we need one another to face our common enemies, namely, disease, insecurity, illiteracy, ethnic bigotry and religious extremism.
“Before we take a break, we call attention to the way forward. We must investigate genuine complaints of marginalization, stigmatization, oppression and persecution with every sincerity. “Thereafter, we must redress all wrongs and resolve to deal justly among ourselves, to love, to tolerate and to forgive ourselves. Only thus can we jointly find the means to fight and defeat our real enemies.
“COVID-19 is winning because the house built by homo sapiens is divided against itself. Let’s unite against our common enemies”, it said.