MPAC’s Letter to the Editor of Thisday Newspaper Against the Vile Article Written by Isioma Daniel in ThisDay Newspaper of 16th, September, 2002.
Fri Nov 22, 2002
Thisday Newspaper, Lagos, Nigeria.
Greetings of Peace.
Writing under the headline: The World at their Feet, on Saturday, 16th of September, November (on page 50) Isioma Daniel abandoned the story of her fancy, and veered into a terrain she is not familiar with. In the article, she asked a rhetoric question: “What would Mohammed think” in reaction to the Muslim community protest against the hosting of Miss World event during the holy month of Ramadan, and went ahead to provide answer thus: “In all honesty, he would probably have chosen a wife from one of them”.
The writer has given a new meaning to honesty here. What is honest about savaging the person of the Prophet of Islam? Defiling his honour, name and character in fun, jest or simply in order to sell a piece of paper. This is a brazen attempt to bring people of Islamic faith to ridicule and thereby provoke a reaction. Only a warped and devil infested mind would allow her imagination run wild to make such a satanic statement. Nigerian Muslims and indeed all people of Islamic faith do not merit such hate writing from your publication. This is extreme provocation, especially in this month of Ramadan. Why would a writer attempt to demonize other peoples’ faith while seeking to hold aloft her ideology as fair seeming?
Isioma also stated that Algeria, an Islamic country, has a participant at the pageant. What is this for? If it was meant to debunk the position of Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) on this issue, then the argument fall flat on its face. She only laid bare her ignorance and showed the extent her intelligence could take her on world affairs.
One wonders where Isioma cut her journalism teeth, otherwise she would know that Algeria had their own “June 12” in 1993 before ours. There was a general election which result was annulled, because the party that won – Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) – was not the choice of the Western world. Of course, the violence and bloodletting this has led to in that country is self-evident. Algeria is still under a dictatorship and tyrant rule. And these are facts that are both self-evident and accessible. Given these and similar facts, Algeria, Muslim dominated countries or any other Arab country in the Middle East is necessarily not a model for Muslims and these countries are certainly no reference on Islam- the Qur’an and Hadith are. In Prophet Muhammad (SAW) last sermon, he mentioned he was leaving two things only behind for his Ummah, which if held onto, we will never be misguided. These are the Qur’an and Sunnah, the latter being his words and deeds. The religion of Islam is for all nations of the world. God addresses mankind in the Qur’an and not Arabs. For true submitters, God words are immutable and supreme. The best among us is the one who is most pious and not one’s lineage, nationality or race. NSCIA directives to Muslims to boycott the contest are thus predicated on the above.
Thisday is a newspaper read widely in this country and other climes. The Muslim world demands a front-page public apology not only from Thisday newspaper but also the writer of the article, as well as the publishing of this statement in your paper. Also, we demand a clear and unequivocal distancing of Thisday editorial policies from religious bigotry and yellow journalism. We expect that Thisday will accede to these demands quickly, work closer with the Muslim community and leaders to resolve the crises generated by the article. Also, we expect that Thisday as well as other reputable media houses will take good and relevant lessons from this sad event and contribute sincere efforts to dismantle the kind of mindset and mentality that can produce the type of Isioma Daniel’s rhetoric both in their organizations and the society at large.
Muslim Public Affairs Centre, Nigeria.