Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, yesterday blamed wrong interpretation and teaching of Islam as part of the reasons for the spread of Boko Haram ideology.
General Buratai said Muslims had been scourged by the menace of illiterate or half-baked teachers of Islamic scriptures who would rather impart skewed knowledge than impart what is stated in the Holy Books.
The COAS spoke while opening a two-day seminar organised by the Directorate of Islamic Affairs of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, the Bonro State capital.
The seminar was organized to enlighten people on terrorism and misinterpretation of Islam.
Addressing participants at the Maimalari Cantonment, 7 Division of the Nigerian army in Maiduguri, the COAS, who was represented by the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Abubakar Yushau, asserted that it was time people embraced and taught true religious knowledge devoid of ulterior interpretations.
“Muslims are faced with ignorance and wrong interpretation of Islam,” said Major General Yushau.
“We have to sensitize the public to embrace the true teachings of Islam, as propagated by the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as anything outside that does not represent Islam,” he said.
According to him, “miscreants and criminals terrorizing people in the northeast under the guise of Islam have gone out of the real teaching and interpretation of Islam as taught by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his disciples…Such teachings have misled people into wrong acts including terrorism in Nigeria.”
The Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Garbai, was represented at the occasion by the Wali of Borno, Alhaji Wali Idris.
The foremost Borno monarch said the “the seminar is timely and would go a long way in sensitizing people about what true Islam is about.
“Nigerians should be their brother`s keeper irrespective of religious or ethnic affiliations, as all of us belong to the same country and cannot develop without peaceful coexistence. Our doors are always open to the security agencies to seek useful advice and suggestions on any security matter.”
Director of Islamic Affairs, Nigerian Army, Col. S. Mustapha, said in his opening remark that “despite Islamic warning against extremism and terrorism, some people did not heed the warning, but always embark on distorting the real meaning of Qur`anic verses and Hadith, disseminating wrong information on Islam in order lure ignorant Muslims youths into criminal activities in the name of fighting Jihad.”