Where sectarianism is doomed, By Wole Olaoye

A combination of a sophisticated worldview, a centuries-old tradition of interacting with humanity of all races and tendencies, and an awareness that religion is distinct from governance – all of this has enabled the Yoruba to open their doors to new religions without becoming slaves to them. Yoruba culture has survived for centuries in the Caribbean and Latin America. He does not seek to dominate and will not be dominated.

When Bashorun JK Randle (son of the illustrious Randle family of Lagos) handed over the possessions of his late aunt, Alhaja Munirat Muhammed, at 14A Bashorun Street, Ikoyi, to the Muslim community through the Lagos Central Mosque, from many people who did not understand the symbiotic relationship between Christians and Muslims in southwestern Nigeria were confused.

While Nigeria’s two main religions – Christianity and Islam – are the source of many Cobra-Vs-Mongoose fights in several parts of Nigeria, the Yoruba in the Southwest do not harbor centrifugal tendencies towards the regard to one or the other religion. Instead, there is tolerance even for a third force: traditional religion.

A devout Muslim, Rauf Aregbesola, served as governor of Osun State for eight years, during which time he ensured that prayers offered at public events represented the three faiths of the people – Islam , Christianity and the indigenous Ifa religion. This generosity did not make Aregbesola a Muslim, however. He was just a Yoruba.

Some people have gone so far in their religious enslavement that they do not even recognize traditional religion as a religion at all. Colonialists called traditional religion paganism because the white man did not understand that Olodumare was the Yoruba equivalent of Almighty God. It took the historical research of Professor Bolaji Idowu (who later became the prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria) to save the colonialists and their neo-colonial acolytes from ignorance. The book, Olodumare: God in Yoruba belief, marked a turning point by opening the window of understanding to those interested in Yoruba cosmology and beliefs.

Like Christianity and Islam, the Ifa religion espouses the inevitability of judgment. According to Professor Idowu, “Olodumare is the last eliminator of all things. He is the Judge. He controls the fate of man and everyone will receive from Him what they deserve.

How is it different from Islam and Christianity?

For the avoidance of doubt, I am a Christian, not an Ifa devotee. But I was socialized to respect others. You can be a Hindu, Bahai, Eckankar, Sikh, or a follower of another sect. How you worship is none of my business.

Far-right tendencies of any religion cannot prevail in the Yoruba country. If you had a Christian sect that regularly demonizes Muslims, for example, it will operate in vain among the Yoruba. The same would happen if a Muslim was anti-Christian. Granted, there are challenges and scrambles for space and influence among Muslims and Christians, but not the type who endorses beheadings and mob justice elsewhere.

It is understandable that some people from a background of religious acrimony might find the Yoruba mark of tolerance strange. But ignorance, as recently displayed by some uninformed commentators in the formal and informal media, is no excuse for poor branding. An alleged case of discrimination cannot be used to dry up millions of people who are tolerant of other religions.

In some parts of Nigeria, the punishment for changing religion is death. I have written in the past about the son of an imam of Esure, Anthony Saliu Sanusi, who became the first Catholic bishop of the diocese of Ijebu-Ode. I have also mentioned in the past the late Reverend Bro. Peter Adeyemi, blood brother of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, as another example of a Muslim, who not only switched to Christianity but who is became a celibate priest.

It’s the same story when you toss the coin. Alhaja Munirat Muhammed, Randle’s aunt, started life as Esther. According to her nephew: “When she voluntarily converted to Islam, no one in our family flinched. No issues were raised either when she chose to marry a Muslim, Alhaji Bakre, who quickly took her to Sapele where they resided for several years in peace and harmony.

Those who know me know that I don’t deal with people on the basis of ethnicity or religion or any of the other primordial viruses.

It is understandable that some people from a background of religious acrimony might find the Yoruba mark of tolerance strange. But ignorance, as recently displayed by some uninformed commentators in the formal and informal media, is no excuse for poor branding. An alleged case of discrimination cannot be used to dry up millions of people who are tolerant of other religions. It should suffice to say to these mischief fishermen that for every rule there can be an exemption; the exemption does not override the rule.

In my own family, we are paternally 95% Muslim, while maternal Christians are around 97%. There are traditional devotees on both sides. Family members also got married in other cultures: Opobo, French, Igbo, American, Nupe, British, Italian, Ibariba, etc.

I am proud to offer my courtesies to my Muslim relatives during Ramadan and Eid el Kabir. They return the gesture at Easter and Christmas. Most families are like that. Bigotry has no place in our environment.

The relationship between different religions, especially Islam and Christianity, is one of mutual respect and healthy competition. Islamic groups like Ansar Ud Deen, Ahmadiyya, Zumratul, have schools in competition with Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists. Nowhere else in Nigeria can one find such competition for progress. Thus, in the Southwest, Islam is part of the progressive movement, not frozen in the Middle Ages.

I am aware that in other places some people have developed a serious inferiority complex because the only schools they have ever seen were either for Christian missions or for government. No Muslim in the Southwest will ever be able to suffer from such an affliction because he knows that some Christians also attend Muslim schools in their country. He has absolutely no reason to feel inferior.

TEXEM

“In 1954, when the Marian Congress was organized in Lagos by Catholics to celebrate 100 years of Lady Fatima’s miracle, Cardinal John McIntyre, Archbishop of Los Angeles, United States, who presided over the ceremony, was amazed when the Muslim children insisted. on full participation with their fellow Christians. Both adults and children wore the Ankara uniform, whether they were Christians or Muslims.

No one tells the story of the historic friendship between Muslims and Christians in Yorubaland better than Chief JK Randle, former president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria:

“It is up to us to cherish and celebrate the strength and resilience of the bond between Christians and Muslims in this part of our nation. Most of you know the twin brothers who went to different schools – one was in Methodist Boys High School in Lagos (and was a Christian) while the other twin attended Ahmadiyya Middle School in Agege (and was a devout Muslim).

“The late Alhaji LB Agusto was the Chief Imam of Lagos, but that did not prevent him from being the Advocate of the Catholic Diocese of Lagos under the leadership of the late Archbishop Leo Taylor.

“It was Alhaji Jubril Martins, another Muslim who had attended St. Gregory’s College, who succeeded Alhaji Agusto as lawyer for the Catholic Church. When Alhaji Jubril Martins died in Mecca in 1958, he was deeply mourned by Christians and Muslims. Christians have pleaded in vain that his corpse should be brought back to Lagos for burial. The Saudi authorities would not give in. Muslims in Lagos easily accepted that it was Allah’s will.

“In 1954, when the Marian Congress was organized in Lagos by Catholics to celebrate 100 years of Lady Fatima’s miracle, Cardinal John McIntyre, Archbishop of Los Angeles, United States, who presided over the ceremony, was amazed when the Muslim children insisted. on full participation with their fellow Christians. Both adults and children wore the Ankara uniform, whether they were Christians or Muslims.

“For those who insist on concrete evidence, I suggest you visit 123 Bamgbose Street; 125 Bamgbose Street; and 127 Bamgbose Street, all in Lagos. They belong to the Akerele; The McGregor and Da Silva families respectively. All are devout Catholics. Right in front is the Salvador Mosque. There is no trace of friction between the Catholic community and the Muslim community. On the contrary, there is hardly any of the children of these Catholic families who did not receive a Muslim “Suna” during a joyous celebration by the followers of Islam opposite …

“The old central mosque of Lagos itself was designed and built under the supervision of engineer George Debayo Agbebi, a Christian… Even the new central mosque was built by an Italian (Catholic) company, G. Cappa & Co…”

Perhaps I should add, as a reminder, that Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s sister, Alhaja Awofeso, was a Muslim. The Awolowo government had the distinction of establishing the first Pilgrim Welfare Council in Nigeria to meet the needs of Muslims during the annual Hajj pilgrimage. The Yoruba had embraced Islam since the 14th century through Malian traders, long before the Fulani Jihad.

A combination of a sophisticated worldview, a centuries-old tradition of interacting with humanity of all races and tendencies, and an awareness that religion is distinct from governance – all of this has enabled the Yoruba to open their doors to new religions without becoming slaves to them. Yoruba culture has survived for centuries in the Caribbean and Latin America. He does not seek to dominate and will not be dominated.

Those who look forward to the day when religion divides the Yoruba will wait in vain. Whoever wants to catch the crab lying down has bad news waiting for him: he can wait forever.

Wole Olaoye can be contacted via wole.olaoye@gmail.com.

Support PREMIUM TIMES integrity and credibility journalism

Good journalism is expensive. Yet only good journalism can guarantee the possibility of a good society, responsible democracy and transparent government.

For free and ongoing access to the best investigative journalism in the country, we ask that you consider modestly supporting this noble enterprise.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to maintain relevant journalism and ensure that it remains free and accessible to everyone.

Make a donation


TEXT OF THE ANNOUNCEMENT : To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401 …





PT Mag campaign ad


Source link

Comments are closed.