President Muhammadu Buhari has urged his fellow Muslim faithful to do away with criminal activities such as killing, kidnapping and forced marriage.
The president said this as part of his message to the Muslims on the occasion of the Maulud celebration, the remembrance of the birth of Prophet Muhammad.
He said: “Putting into practice the great virtues for which the Holy Prophet Muhammad is historically famous and revered would have a far greater impact on changing our attitudes and behaviours than the best sermons ever will.
“The indiscriminate killing of innocent people, the kidnapping of female students and forcing them into marriage and conversion is contrary to teachings and personal examples of the Prophet Muhammad.
“Violent extremism is the single biggest challenge facing the image of Islam today, which has been hijacked by a minority of misguided elements who are using religion to cover-up their criminal agenda.
“There is an urgent need for increased vigilance by Muslims to frustrate and stop the spread of violent ideologies that are causing human havocs and tragedies around the world.
“Extremism is like cancer that needs to be attacked in its early stages before it grows malignantly out of control and harms the society.”
He also advised Muslims not to allow their children to be recruited by extremists, who will ultimately destroy their lives and future while urging them to use the occasion to renew their resolve in promoting tolerance, love, harmony and peaceful coexistence in the country.