The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has rejected Boko Haram's claim that it has formed an Islamic caliphate in Gwoza town, Borno State.

Boko Haram membersSuspected Boko Haram members The group, in a strong-worded statement signed by its leader, Professor Isiaq Akintola, said it is un-Islamic, while it urged Nigerian Armed Forces to stand up and cleanse the Boko Haram fighters.

The full position read in part:

The leader of the Boko Haram insurgents, Abubakar Shekau, yesterday declared Gwoza as Boko Haram’s caliphate. Gwoza is a part of Borno State that was overrun by the insurgents a few days ago.

We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) hereby totally and unequivocally reject this declaration. We reaffirm our faith in the unity and indissolubility of Nigeria.

Almighty Allah says, “Oh you who believe, obey Allah, His Messenger and those in position of authority.” (Qur’an 4:59). Islam therefore commands obedience to constituted authority but Boko Haram has chosen disobedience to and belligerence towards the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

Whereas Boko Haram members are aware that the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III is the indisputable leader of all Nigerian Muslims, they have refused to heed all his appeals. Instead of giving honour to Muslim leaders and Emirs, Boko Haram has killed some of them and attacked some others.

Whereas all-encompassing education is one of the basic tenets of Islam (Qur’an 96:1-5), Boko Haram forbids Western education. Whereas the Prophet (SAW) in the hadith commands education for all, Boko Haram seeks to alienate women from education. Again, whereas the Prophet (SAW) honoured the girl-child and commanded his followers to do same, Boko Haram kidnaps and enslaves young and innocent girls thereby exposing them to wild life and subjecting them to unimaginable psychological trauma.

Boko Haram’s declaration is a statement of secession. It must not be allowed. Gwoza must be liberated within days. Boko Haram or no Boko Haram, we cannot compromise the territorial integrity of Nigeria to anyone, no matter how barbaric.

We also charge the Nigerian Armed Forces to be more focused from this moment. Boko Haram must be flushed out with microscopic accuracy from all the villages occupied in Borno State. But there is a caveat: it must be done professionally so that innocent civilians do not fall victims.

MURIC calls attention to the declaration of the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in which they outlawed Boko Haram and declared its practices outrageous and unacceptable in Islam.

From its latest statement, it is clear that Boko Haram is emulating the Islamic State in Iraq (ISIS) which declared a phantom caliphate a few months ago. It is didactic that world Muslim bodies have also rejected ISIS because of its unIslamic practices and its open and inhuman hostility towards its Christian population.

Gwoza Caliphate is definitely not the caliphate which we desire. Unlike that of ISIS and Boko Haram, the caliphate of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) which he established in Madinah was based on justice, love and peaceful coexistence.

MURIC therefore rejects Boko Haram’s caliphate. It is a mirage. It exists only in the figment of Shekau’s imagination. Like a good surgeon who will not hesitate to amputate a rotten limb from a patient’s anatomy, MURIC urges President Jonathan to immediately don the garb of a good surgeon.

Finally, we assure all Nigerians that Muslims want to live in peace and tranquility with their Christian neighbours and their traditionalist brothers and sisters in one and indivisible Nigeria. We have come a long way together so we will not emulate butchers of men. Islam strengthens humanity. It does not debase it.

Neither shall we listen to those who ask us to kill people of Western origin in our midst. We affirm that Islam is a universal religion. It does not hate on the basis of race, colour or sex. We therefore assure all foreigners in the country that they have nothing to fear from mainstream Muslims. We appreciate their presence in our midst and we will continue to honour them as our Prophet (SAW) commanded us to do.

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