Atiku Felicitates With Muslims, Urges Nigerians To Live In Unity

File photo of Atiku Abubakar

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has congratulated fellow Muslim faithful on the occasion of the 2021 EID celebrations.

The Wazirin Adamawa speaking on Tuesday in Yola, the state capital, after observing the two Ra’kat prayers at the eid ground, also stressed that Nigerians need to make sacrifices to live in unity and cooperate with each other to ensure peace and stability.

Speaking further, he used the opportunity to urge Nigerian and most especially voters in the state to get registered.

[Read Also] Eid-El-Kabir: Muslims Observe Rakat Prayers At Eid Grounds

Restive Nigeria Town Scores Win For Peace With Football

Two football team captains from Forgiveness FC (L) and from Patience FC (R) pose for a photo after playing a final peace football match with a line-up of teams made up of Christians and Muslims aimed at reuniting estranged neighbours in violent flashpoint within Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, on May 14, 2021. KOLA SULAIMON / AFP

 

For years, the central Nigerian city of Jos was a flashpoint for ethnic strife pitting Christian and Muslim youths against each other in clashes in rival neighbourhoods.

Neighbour turned against neighbour as Muslims dared not cross into Christian districts, and Christians steered clear of Muslim dominated quarters.

But community leaders have turned to football and music as a way to reach across the divide in a programme successfully building trust and restoring the peace.

Promoting mediation and team spirit, Salis Muhammad Abdulsalam and his community group went from neighbourhood to neighbourhood recruiting young football players from 20 communities.

Branding them with names like Love FC and Unity FC, the initiative has helped to bring divided Jos, capital city of the central Plateau state, back together.

On a recent weekend, Patience FC and Forgiveness FC met up for a final in the Rwang Pam Township stadium in Jos, in a symbol of communities coming together in coexistence.

“These boys have now turned out to be advocates of peace and unity,” Abdulsalam said.

“Every other day of their lives that they train together, they play matches together, we foster unity and build team spirit and we reduce rivalries. We reduce mistrust amongst them.”

‘Music + Football’

Two players — one Muslim and one Christian — stood shoulder to shoulder with the ball balanced between them in a symbol of unity.

Before the matches, local DJs play tunes and bands perform music in local languages as a way to attract youngsters to the events.

A pitch-side banner reads “Music + Football = Peace. Reuniting Estranged Neighbors”.

For Amaechi Johnson, a Christian player from Patience FC, the initiative has already paid dividends. He can now enter Muslim areas and be welcomed.

“You can enter most places you have never entered before, and that is the peace and unity we are talking about.”

Jos, an ancient city which was once a tourist haven because of its cooler climate, falls on the dividing line between Nigeria’s mainly Christian south and mostly Muslim north.

Most of the violence in the divided city and wider Plateau state has been linked to a long-running sectarian conflict between Christian farmers and Muslim herdsmen.

In September 2001, fighting between Christians and Muslims around Jos killed 913 people, according to Human Rights Watch.

Religiously motivated clashes following local elections in November 2008 also left hundreds dead, with similar fighting in January 2010 killing more than 300 people, the New rights group has said.

“Six, seven years ago, Jos used to be boiling almost on a daily basis. But for some time now the place has been quiet,” said Irmiya Werr, a Plateau State commissioner.

“Programmes like this is what is promoting this peace, what is sustaining this peace.”

Founder of Face of Peace Global, Salis Muhammad Abdulsalam, speaks during a peace football match with a line-up of teams made up of Christians and Muslims which aim is targeted at uniting most violent flashpoint within Jos at the RWANG Pam Township Stadium, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, on May 14, 2021. KOLA SULAIMON / AFP
A general view of of Jos City, Plateau State, Nigeria, on May 15, 2021. For years, the central Nigerian city of Jos was a flashpoint for ethnic strife pitting Christian and Muslim youth against each other in clashes in their rival neighbourhoods.

People walk past a street sign in one of the most violent flashpoints in Congo-Russia Road in Jos, Nigeria, on May 15, 2021. For years, the central Nigerian city of Jos was a flashpoint for ethnic strife pitting Christian and Muslim youth against each other in clashes in their rival neighbourhoods.
Captains of two football teams with a line-up of teams made up of Christians and Muslims, prepares to play a peace football final match aimed at reuniting estranged neighbours in violent flashpoint within Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, on May 14, 2021. – For years, the central Nigerian city of Jos was a flashpoint for ethnic strife pitting Christian and Muslim youth against each other in clashes in their rival neighbourhoods.
Patience Football Club, one of the teams with a line-up of teams made up of Christians and Muslims, jubilates after playing a final football match aimed at reuniting estranged neighbours in violent flashpoint within Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, on May 14, 2021.
Patience Football Club, one of the teams with a line-up of players made up of Christians and Muslims, prepare for a peace football match aimed at reuniting estranged neighbours in violent flashpoint within Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria.
Football players with a line-up of teams made up of Christians and Muslims, practise ahead of a peace football tournament aimed at reuniting estranged neighbours in violent flashpoint within Jos, Plateau State.
Forgiveness FC’s defender Solomon Wake (R) fight for the ball with Patience FC’s striker Chigozie Nwanedo (L) during a peace football final tournament match with a line-up of teams made up of Christians and Muslims aimed at reuniting estranged neighbours in violent flashpoint within Jos.
A general view of a street in the city of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, on May 15, 2021. – For years, the central Nigerian city of Jos was a flashpoint for ethnic strife pitting Christian and Muslim youth against each other in clashes in their rival neighbourhoods.

Taraba Christian, Muslim Leaders Condemn Looting By Rampaging Youths

(FILE) Residents loot a warehouse containing COVID-19 palliatives in Taraba State on October 24, 2020.

 

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Muslim Council have frowned at the actions of rampaging youths for the destruction and looting of properties in Taraba State.

CAN Chairman in Taraba, Reverend Jirapye Magaji, made the position of the two religious groups known at a joint press conference on Thursday in Jalingo, the state capital.

Addressing reporters on the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest, he asked parents to continuously monitor the activities of their children in order to curb their involvement in crimes.

Reverend Magaji who insisted that destruction and looting of properties must be condemned wondered the kind of leadership the youths intend to offer as future leaders of the country.

He commiserated with the state government and private individuals whose properties were looted or vandalised.

A file photo of a warehouse looted by residents in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital.

 

The clergyman stressed the need for the government to be proactive in handling matters that affect people in trying moments.

He, however, commended the state government for taking the necessary action at the time by imposing a dusk-to-dawn curfew to prevent the situation from further escalating.

Both groups also commended the efforts made by the security agencies in curtailing looting and destruction of public and private properties, although they stated that more efforts were required to prevent a reoccurrence of such incident.

Crowds of rampaging residents had invaded some government properties, including a warehouse containing COVID-19 palliatives donated by the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), and the Northeast Development Commission (NEDC).

The warehouse is located at the Veterinary Clinic opposite the secretariat of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Jalingo, the state capital.

During the incident which occurred on Saturday last week, a stampede reportedly took place but there was no confirmed figure of casualties.

China Running Hundreds Of Detention Centres In Xinjiang-Researchers

 

A picture of the Chinese flag.
A picture of the Chinese flag.

China is running hundreds of detention centres in northwest Xinjiang across a network that is much bigger than previously thought, according to research presented Thursday by an Australian think tank.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) said it had identified more than 380 “suspected detention facilities” in the region, where China is believed to have held more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking residents.

The number of facilities is around 40 percent greater than previous estimates, the research said and has been growing despite China’s claims that many Uighurs have been released.

Using satellite imagery, eyewitness accounts, media reports and official construction tender documents, the institute said “at least 61 detention sites have seen new construction and expansion work between July 2019 and July 2020”.

Fourteen more facilities were under construction in 2020 and around 70 have had fencing or perimeter walls removed, indicating their use has changed or they have been closed.

Beijing on Thursday again denied the existence of detention sites. The government says they are vocational training centres used to counter extremism.

Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called ASPI “the vanguard of anti-China forces whose academic credibility is seriously questionable”.

US lawmakers recently voted to ban imports from Xinjiang, citing the alleged use of systematic forced labour.

Beijing recently published a white paper defending its policies in Xinjiang, where it says training programmes, work schemes and better education mean life has improved.

It claims to have given “training sessions” to an average of 1.29 million workers each year between 2014 and 2019.

Following the publication of the ASPI report, the Chinese government-controlled nationalist tabloid Global Times cited “sources” as saying contributors Clive Hamilton and Alex Joske were banned from entering China.

Wang did not confirm if the two academics had been banned on Thursday, but said the matter was “totally within the scope of China’s sovereignty”.

AFP

PHOTOS: Muslims Get Set For Eid El Kabir Celebrations

A vendor displays his ram for sale at a livestock market in Anagada, Niger State ahead of the Eid Al-Adha celebrations on July 30th, 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/ Channels Television

 

Muslims in Nigeria are joining other faithful around the world to observe the 2020 Eid El Kabir celebrations.

Eid El Kabir or Eid Al-Adha is an Islamic festival marked annually on July 31, to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to follow Allah’s command to sacrifice his son Ismail but after his faith was tested, a ram was provided and slaughtered instead.

In Nigeria, the day is usually declared as a public holiday and the general public enjoys off days while schools and most businesses are closed.

However, the celebrations that usually accompany the festivities in many parts of the globe will not be felt this year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic just as the Federal Government has resolved to curtail its spread in Nigeria by advising people to observe all safety protocols especially physical distancing.

But despite the restrictions, preparation for the event appeared to be in top gear between Wednesday and Thursday as people were seen travelling and livestock markets were buzzing with sales.

 

See photos below.

 

Muslims Disappointed, But Accepting, As Saudi Scales Back Hajj

A picture taken June 23, 2020 shows a few worshippers performing al-Fajr prayer at the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque complex in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca. – Saudi Arabia has announced it will hold a “very limited” hajj this year, with pilgrims already in the kingdom allowed to perform the annual ritual as it moves to curb the biggest coronavirus outbreak in the Gulf. (Photo by STR / AFP)

 

 

Muslims expressed disappointment Tuesday at Saudi Arabia’s decision to scale back this year’s hajj pilgrimage, but many accepted it was necessary as the kingdom battles a major coronavirus outbreak.

Riyadh said Monday the hajj would be “very limited” with only pilgrims already in the country allowed to perform the ritual, marking the first time in modern Saudi history that foreign visitors have been barred.

The move had looked inevitable for some time and several countries had already pulled out, but the announcement nevertheless added to disappointment for Muslims who invest huge sums and face long waits to go on hajj.

“My hopes of going to (the holy Saudi city of Mecca) were so high,” said Kamariah Yahya, 68, from Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, which had already barred its citizens from the hajj earlier this month.

“I’ve been preparing for years. But what can I do? This is Allah’s will — it’s destiny.”

A group representing about 250 companies in Indonesia that organise Saudi pilgrimages said it understood that the five-day event, scheduled for the end of July, would be “too risky” at the moment.

But Syam Resfiadi, chairman of the Union of Hajj and Umrah Organisers, told AFP some of his group’s members had “started laying off employees or even shutting down their operations — they’ve had no income for months”.

A must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, the pilgrimage sees millions of people pack into congested religious sites and could have become a major source of virus transmission.

– ‘Shattered’ –
Shahadat Hossain Taslim, head of a group representing Bangladeshi hajj travel agencies, said “many people will be shattered” by the decision but it was for the best.

“Unlike other countries, the majority of Bangladeshi pilgrims are elderly people, and they are vulnerable to COVID-19,” he said.

In neighbouring India, the minister for minority affairs said more than 200,000 people had applied to go on hajj in 2020, and they would receive a full refund of any money deposited for the pilgrimage.

The hajj ministry in Saudi Arabia, where virus cases have surpassed 161,000, has said the pilgrimage will still be open to people of various nationalities already in the country but did not specify a number.

The decision will likely appease domestic pilgrims but it prompted renewed questions about Saudi Arabia’s custodianship of Islam’s holiest sites — the kingdom’s most powerful source of political legitimacy.

A series of deadly disasters over the years, including a 2015 stampede that killed up to 2,300 worshippers, has led to criticism of the kingdom’s management of the hajj.

Mohamad Azmi Abdul Hamid, from charity the Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organizations, said Muslim nations should have been allowed to take a “collective decision”, rather then it being left to Riyadh.

“It’s high time (the holy cities of Mecca and Medina) are managed by an international board represented by Muslim countries,” he told AFP.

The decision also risks annoying hardline Muslims, for whom religion may trump health concerns.

Despite the disappointment, some Muslims were already looking ahead to 2021 and hoping they would be able to perform the pilgrimage then.

“I’m still hoping to go on hajj next year, and pray that I’ll stay healthy until then,” said Yahya in Indonesia.

-AFP

Eid-El-Fitr: Keep Your Spirits Up In Spite Of COVID-19, Buhari Tells Muslims

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari. Photo: [email protected]

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Muslims to keep their spirits up in spite of the COVID-19.

The President gave the encouragement in a Sallah message on the occasion of the Eid-el-Fitr on Saturday.

According to him, the pandemic caught the world off guard and has dampened what would otherwise have been a time of celebration for the Muslim faithful who are marking the end of the Ramadan fasting period.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the people’s spiritual, social and economic lives,” he said, adding that “this year’s fasting period was particularly challenging for Muslims because they had to forgo many important aspects of their daily worship, including the routine congregations for prayer and the recitation and interpretation of the Holy Qur’an as well as travelling for the lesser pilgrimage to Makkah.”

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President Buhari, however, noted that while it was not easy to give up many of those important duties and activities, it became imperative to do so in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“Let me use this opportunity to commend the sacrifices of both Muslims and Christians for their cooperation in the enforcement of the social distancing guidelines. I am well aware of the inconveniences these tough measures have brought on the lives of Nigerians, including limiting religious activities and gatherings in large numbers,” the President noted, adding that “no government would intentionally impose these tough and demanding measures on its citizens if it had a choice.”

Speaking further, he noted that “this year’s Eid event is an occasion for sober reflection rather than celebration.”

He also appealed to other Nigerians “whose businesses and means of livelihoods were badly affected by the prolonged lockdown measures for their understanding and cooperation.”

He assured them that the lockdown measures would not go on longer than necessary because they would be reviewed from time to time to ease the increasing hardships on the people.

Meanwhile, the president urged those who have the means to continue helping their neighbours and the less well-to-do “so that we can all come out of this pandemic stronger and more united.”

He prayed that Allah eases the hardship among the people as the country struggles to flatten the curve while wishing all Nigerians “Eid Mubarak.”

Ramadan: Taraba Govt Distributes Food Items To Muslim Communities

LG Funds: Ishaku Agrees With NFIU, To Reduce Political Appointees
Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku (file)

 

Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku has ordered for the immediate distribution of food items to Muslim faithful across the state.

Governor Ishaku who inspected the various food items deposited at the warehouse of the State Transport Cooperation (TSTC ) on Thursday said the state government has concluded plans to commence the distribution of palliatives among the poorest of the poor next week.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Plateau Bans Movement Within State

He explained that his administration decided on the palliatives in order to cushion the effects of the ongoing lockdown on the people.

Speaking through the Deputy Governor, Haruna Manu, Ishaku said the state government is not ignorant of the pain the Muslim community might be going through during this Ramadan fast.

He reiterated the determination of the government to give the much-needed support to them to complete the exercise.

The deputy governor noted that the food items include 4300 bags of millet and 3800 bags of sugar across the 16 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.

Makinde Calls For Religious Harmony, Tolerance As Muslims Mark Eid-El-Maulud

 

The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has emphasised the need for religious tolerance and harmony in the country.

The Governor, in a message to Nigerian Muslims on the occasion of the Eid-el-Maulud celebration said that the current times call for greater emphasis on religious harmony, tolerance, and peaceful co-existence.

He said: “We are at a time where religious harmony is a necessary ingredient of our daily life. This is because a number of revisionists are trying to hide under the passion that is usually inflamed by religion to cause disharmony and disrupt the peace.

Read Also: Eid-El-Maulud: Follow Examples Of Prophet Muhammad, Buhari Charges Muslims

“We must resist such revisionists and tell them in clear terms that ours is a society that values peaceful coexistence, brotherhood, and unity. Like the Motto of our Dear Country, Unity, and Faith, we must continue to remain united even when we practice a different faith.

“On behalf of the government and the good people of Oyo State, let me congratulate all our Muslim brothers and sisters on the turn of another Eid-el-Maulud and reiterate that we all remain faithful to the teachings of the Holy Quran, which emphasis tolerance, respect for one another, humane conduct and love for fellow human beings.

“We can only build a great nation when we are truly our brothers’ keepers and adhere to the teachings of the prophet who emphasise love as a golden virtue among humanity.”

My Administration ‘Irrevocably Committed’ To Providing Quality Governance – Dapo Abiodun

 

Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, has assured the people of the state of his administration’s commitment to providing focused and quality governance.

He gave the assurance in a statement on Sunday while felicitating with Muslims as they mark the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.

“Let me assure all our people that our Administration remains irrevocably committed to providing focused and qualitative governance that will create an enabling environment for Public-Private Sector Partnership (PPP) which is fundamental to creation of an enduring economic development,” he said.

Speaking further, he called on Muslims to emulate the qualities of Prophet Ibrahim which he says include patience, perseverance, steadfastness and obedience which according to him, are key to nation building.

[Read Also] Eid-El-Kabir: Senate President Urges Muslims To Imbibe Virtues Of Obedience, Perseverance

“As we celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir Festival, it is important that we also take note of the lessons of the festival. We should all emulate Prophet Ibrahim’s patience, perseverance, steadfastness, obedience and commitment as vital ingredients toward the successful implementation of the “Building our Future Together” Agenda,” he said.

The governor also called for the continued support, cooperation, and prayers of the people of the state while asking them to celebrate in moderation.

“Let me enjoin you all to celebrate with moderation. We must all remember that even this celebration is an act of worship to Allah. And, I pray that God accepts all our worship as Ibadah. May He also grant us good rewards in this life and hereafter”.

Trump Hosts First Iftar Dinner At White House

US President Donald Trump speaks during an iftar dinner hosted at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 6, 2018. Donald Trump hosts his first iftar dinner as president, marking the traditional Ramadan fast-breaking meal with Muslim invitees at the White House.
JIM WATSON / AFP

 

Donald Trump hosted his first iftar dinner as president Wednesday, marking the traditional Ramadan fast-breaking meal with Muslim invitees at the White House.

Trump, who has frequently engaged in inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric, defied recent custom by not holding a similar event during his first year in office.

Hundreds of millions of devout Muslims observe the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which is slated to end on June 14 this year.

From sunrise onwards, they abstain from food and drink, breaking their fast at sunset.

There were more than 50 guests. At the head table, Trump sat with Saudi Ambassador Prince Khalid Ben Salman, and Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar.

Ambassadors were invited from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain, Morocco, Algeria and Libya.

“To each of you and to the Muslims around the world: Ramadan Mubarak,” Trump said.

“Tonight, we give thanks for the renewed bonds of friendship and cooperation we have forged with our valued partners from all across the Middle East,” he said.

Outside the White House, a group of demonstrators displayed slogans and chanted in protest against Trump’s efforts to ban immigrants from several Muslim-majority countries.

“We think it’s the height of hypocrisy for Donald Trump to ban Muslims with one hand and then invite lead diplomats into the White House and break fast with them,” said Bilal Askaryar.

“It’s hypocritical and his actions with the Muslim ban and spreading hate speech about Muslims is un-American and un-presidential.”

Iftar dinners have been a regular feature on the White House calendar, along with prayer breakfasts, Passover Seders and similar events.

Several American Muslim groups said they would not participate in Wednesday’s iftar.

Man Beaten To Death In India For Allegedly Killing Cow

File photo of a herd of cows in Nigeria.

 

A Muslim man accused of killing a cow was beaten to death by a mob in central India, police said Sunday, the latest vigilante murder over the animal considered sacred by Hindus.

Siraj Khan, a 45-year-old tailor, was attacked in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh state early Friday and died at the scene, local police official Arvind Tiwari told AFP.

Kahn’s friend Shakeel Maqbool, who was also attacked, was admitted to hospital with critical injuries.

As details of the violent assault emerged at the weekend 400 additional police were deployed to the district late Saturday as inquiries widened, the Press Trust of India reported.

“We have arrested four people, and they have been sent to judicial custody. We are investigating what prompted the attack,” Tiwari said.

He added that meat and a bull carcass was found at the scene, but did not elaborate as investigations were ongoing.

Hindus consider cows sacred and slaughtering the animals, or possessing or consuming beef, is banned in most Indian states.

Cow slaughter in Madhya Pradesh carries a maximum seven-year jail term but many other parts of India impose life sentences for infringements.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has promised to completely outlaw cow slaughter in India.

The right-wing Hindu BJP has been accused of turning a blind eye to a rising number of vigilante attacks in the name of cow protection.

Rights groups say Hindu mobs have been emboldened under the party, who stormed to power in 2014. Many of the victims are Muslims.

In two prominent cases last year, a dairy farmer was killed on a roadside for transporting cows and a Muslim teenager accused of carrying beef was stabbed to death on a crowded train.

AFP