A top Nigerian cleric has spoken out against the Boko Haram, a sect of Islamist militants classified by the United States as a terrorist organization.
The Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, is a respected Muslim leader and the number two Islamic cleric in Nigeria. He has called to the people of Nigeria to defend themselves against Boko Haram and to stand up against the acts of terror and violence Boko Haram has inflicted on innocent people.
According to the Daily Post, the Nigerian leader made these comments against Boko Haram at the close of a weekly broadcast recitation of the Qu’ran — the holy book of Islam. The weekly program calls for Muslims to join in prayer for peace in the country. The Emir of Kano took the opportunity to encourage community leaders and young people of Nigeria to protect themselves from the violence of Boko Haram.
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi made the following statement about Boko Haram in Hausa during the broadcast.
“These people [Boko Haram], when they attack towns, they kill boys and enslave girls… People must stand resolute… People should be sensitized on the importance of being on the alert. And they should prepare, they should acquire what they will defend themselves with.”
To inspire courage under the fire of Boko Haram, the Muslim leader then reminded the people of Nigeria about the words spoken by the prophet Muhammad of the Islamic faith, who claimed that those who die in defense of his or her country, family, life, or wealth would die a martyr.
“People must not assume that the crisis will not reach their area. If it comes, we are asking God to give us fortitude, but if He wishes to take martyrs from amongst us, we should be ready to give our lives. People must not wait for soldiers to protect them [against Boko Haram]. There are even instances where soldiers on ground ran away in the face of attack.”
According to Al Alarabiya News, it is extremely rare for a Muslim Nigerian cleric to speak out about political or military issues like Boko Haram. Even so, the public expected the Emir to express an opinion on Boko Haram after acquiring the position of power. His voice against Boko Haram came in response to a lack of defense for the people of Nigeria. The military is often accused of leaving civilians defenseless against Boko Haram, meaning it is largely up to vigilante groups and individual citizens to fight the Boko Haram sect.
“Those that are endowed as hunters and vigilantes should apply this endowment given to them by Allah as an avenue of earning divine reward in defending their nation.”