UPDATE: Muslims Targeted in the #EndSARS Protests in
SE and SS Parts of the Country
Saturday, 24 October 2020 | Rabi Al-Awwal 7, 1442 AH
Sequel to reports that the ongoing violent protests in the country have evolved into a more dangerous monster as mosques and Muslim worshippers are now being targeted in some parts of the country, we would like to once again call the attention of the government and security agencies to the situation of these Muslims in order to seek protection for them and their houses of worship. With the number of innocent lives already taken by those hate cultists on a senseless murder spree, it is clear that more needs to be done to protect these defenceless Nigerians from those hacking them to death. The marauding killers who are targeting them because of their faith and/or ethnicity.
There have been gory accounts of merciless killings of Muslims- not fewer than 10 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State alone- by those driven by hate and intolerance.
There are also reports of similar carnage in Imo State where a mosque in Orlu was burnt down last Wednesday (October 21, 2020), the worshippers viciously attacked and 1 Muslim worshipper callously killed while others were seriously injured. In the same town, a Hausa owned truck ladened with consumables was reportedly attacked and the driver lynched to death.
There was also an attack on Oyigbo area of Rivers State where Muslims, particularly the Hausas in the area, were attacked by non-Muslim agitators. Similar attacks are fast spreading into Enugu, Abia, Anambra and Ebonyi States of the South-Eastern and South-Southern regions of Nigeria.
It is quite unfortunate that some people are using the current crises in the nation to spread mischief and pursue their hateful and Islamophobic agendas.
Clearly, these dastardly acts are premeditated and fuelled by Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred. MPAC continues to call out the dangers of extremism and issues a clear call for action to the state Governors and law enforcement agencies. There is a danger that the attacks will continue or spread unless urgent actions are taken to suppress the perpetrators and bring them to book. Additionally, the authority in the affected states should do more to clamp down on hate speech, Islamophobia and hateful rhetoric that can translate into violent crimes like these. It is now crucial to enforce the law and prevent hate crimes and specifically, to work closely with the Muslim community in the affected areas in order to better understand their fears, their concerns and their needs at this time.
It is expected that the Governors in the affected states will look inwards and work closely through the interfaith platforms in their states to reach out to the Muslim communities in a bid to ensure Muslim inclusion through their policies and programmes. Sadly, most Muslims in the affected states have suffered long years of exclusion, neglect and institutionalized discrimination, which have contributed to an environment conducive for hostility and intolerance, making the ground fertile for hate crimes like these.
On this tragic day and in the days after the horrific violence, it is imperative for the Nigerian media to highlight the horrible crimes perpetrated against those Muslim victims in Rivers State and Imo State in particular. Editorial denunciation of hate-motivated attacks and hate crimes will demonstrate that the media does not place pricetags on human lives, and that our unity will not be broken by those who have adopted a violent way of life.
Every life is sacred and it is crucial at this time that the same message is heard loud and clear in all mosques, all churches, from government officials and amongst community and youth leaders: that there is zero-tolerance for hate cultists and extremist groups that target people for their faith or ethnicity, and are bent on robbing innocent people of their lives will be mercilessly denounced.
While we appeal for calm and restraint from the affected communities, we pray that God Almighty will bless the souls of the victims who died and return those injured to full health. Our prayers and thoughts are with them, their families and the entire Muslim communities.
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