[Friday Sermon] Islam, Peace, And The Challenges Of Insecurity
By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
All thanks and praise is due to Allah , we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and the consequences of our evil deeds. Whoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whoever Allah leads astray will never find guidance. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, He is alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger.
“O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims in submission to Him.” [Quran, 3:102]
“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Verily, Allah is ever watching over you.” [Quran, 4:1]
“O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will then amend for you your deeds and forgive your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.” [Quran, 33:70-71]
Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the worst affairs are newly invented matters (in religion). Every newly invented matter (in religion) is a religious innovation, and every religious innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.
Brothers and Sisters! Know that, Islam is a religion of peace in the fullest sense of the word. The Quran calls its way:
“…The ways of peace…” [Quran, 5:16]
It describes reconciliation as the best policy [Quran, 4:128], and states that Allah abhors any disturbance of peace [Quran, 2:205]
The root word of Islam is ‘Silm’, which means peace. So the spirit of Islam is the spirit of peace. The first verse of the Quran breathes the spirit of peace; it reads:
“In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate.”
This verse is repeated in the Quran no less than 114 times or 113 times excluding Surah at-Tawbah. It shows the great importance Islam attaches to such values as Mercy and Compassion. One of Allah’s names, according to the Quran, is As-Salam, which means Peace. Moreover, the Quran states that the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah exalt his mention) was sent to the world as a mercy to mankind. [Quran, 21:107]
A perusal of the Quran shows that most verses of the Quran (and also the Hadith) are based on peace and kindness, either directly or indirectly. The ideal society, according to the Quran is Dar As-Salam, that is, the house of peace [Quran, 10:25]
The Quran presents the universe as a model, which is characterised by harmony and peace [Quran, 36:40]. When Allah created heaven and earth, He so ordered things that each part might perform its function peacefully without clashing with any other. The Quran tells us that:
“It is not allowable [i.e., possible] for the sun to reach the moon, nor does the night overtake the day, but each, in an orbit, is swimming.” [Quran, 36:40]
For billions of years, therefore, the entire universe has been fulfilling its function in total harmony with His divine plan.
According to Islam, peace is not simply an absence of war. Peace opens doors to all kinds of opportunities which are present in any given situation. It is only in a peaceful situation that planned activities are possible. It is for this reason that the Quran says:
“…And settlement is best…” [Quran, 4:128]
Similarly, Prophet Muhammad has observed:
“Allah grants to gentleness (Rifq) what He does not grant to violence (Unf).” [Abu Dawud]
According to Islam, peace is the rule and war is only an exception. Even in defensive war we have to analyse its result; if the result is doubtful, Muslims should avoid war. Stray acts of aggression are not enough for Muslims to rush into war. They have to assess the whole situation and adopt a policy of avoidance when war is not certain to achieve a positive result.
In actual fact, the mission of all the Prophets from Adam to Isa (Jesus), may Allah exalt their mention, was one and the same – of establishing the ideology of monotheism in the world, so that man might worship the One Allah alone. As we know, there came a large number of Prophets in ancient times but the message of monotheism remained at the initial stage; it could not culminate in revolution.
In ancient times, the system of monarchy was entrenched throughout the world. The kings, in order to secure their political interests, adopted the course of religious persecution. These kings suppressed all religious movements that were different from the state religion. They would nip all ‘apostasy’ in the bud since they saw religion as a matter of affirming one’s loyalty to the state. If a person adhered to a religion other than the state religion, he was regarded as a rebel.
That is why in ancient times, Prophetic movements could go no further than the state of Da’awah, or invitation to Islam. No sooner would a movement based on monotheism arise than the coercive political system would be activated to pull it out by its roots. The reason for the absence of any historical record of Prophets (besides the Prophet Muhammad) in antiquity is traceable to the intense opposition of these coercive political systems.
All the Prophets of ancient times, historically speaking, were like mythical beings, rather than real human beings accepted as historical figures. Prophet Isa (Jesus), may Allah exalt his mention, was the last link in the chain of these persecutions faced by the preachers of monotheism. Then Allah decreed the abolition of this coercive political system, even if it entailed the use of force in order that the age of religious persecution might be brought to an end forever, and replaced by the age of religious freedom. This Divine plan was brought to completion through the Prophet Muhammad and his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all. This is the command given in the Quran:
“Fight them until there be no fitnah [i.e., persecution] and [until] the religion [i.e., worship], all of it, is for Allah…” [Quran, 8:39]
Therefore, Prophet Muhammad received special divine succour in the form of a powerful team consisting of one hundred thousand individuals. Equipped with this team, the Prophet waged war to end this coercive system of religious persecution, and it was in Arabia that it was first of all overthrown. Then within a very short span of time, they advanced to abolish the coercive system established by the Sassanid and Byzantine empires.
Servants of Allah! In the wake of this Islamic action, the coercive system was abolished forever in the major part of the inhabited world of the time. This war waged by Prophet Muhammad and his Companions was not a war as is commonly understood, but rather a divine operation, which was carried out by people who possessed a high standard of moral character.
However, this operation was certainly only temporary in nature. Its goal was to put an end to the age of religious persecution and usher in the age of religious freedom. This end was fully achieved during the early period of Islam, the age of the pious Caliphs. Afterwards the time came to keep the sword in its sheath and engage in Da’awah work, that is, the call to Allah, which was the real and permanent goal of Islam.
It is no exaggeration to say that Islam and violence are contradictory to each other. The concept of Islamic violence is so obviously unfounded that, prima facie it stands rejected. The fact that violence is not sustainable in the present world is enough to convince one that violence, as a principle, is quite alien to the scheme of things in Islam. Islam claims to be an eternal religion and such a religion cannot afford a principle in its scheme which will not be sustainable in later periods of human history. An attempt to bracket violence with Islam amounts to casting doubts upon the very eternity of the Islamic religion.
No wonder then that the Prophet Muhammad so earnestly used to entreat his Lord in his daily prayer:
“O Allah, you are the original source of Peace; from You is all Peace, and to You returns all Peace. So, make us live with Peace; and let us enter paradise: the House of Peace. Blessed be You, our Lord, to whom belongs all Majesty and Honour!”
Brothers and Sisters! Know that, the Islamic concept of security is a very comprehensive one, more comprehensive than any of the other existing systems. It looks at humankind in relation to the universe and the factors influencing it. It encompasses physical, mental, psychological and spiritual domains as integral parts of an overall societal security system. Islamic teachings do not merely provide solutions to exceptional instances of criminal behaviour, but emphatically focus on measures that halt their existence. In other words, Islam executes as many means as possible to avert temptation. While modern societies and civilisations flaunt temptation – liquor, pornography, nakedness, violence, etc. – before the people, a true Islamic society removes the sources of these temptations, and when the need for correction emerges, the punishment is serious and effective.
Crime has prospered in modern society because a completely contradictory and artificial approach is followed to controlling it. All forms of temptation are prevalent and easily accessible and when the time comes for correction or punishment of a crime, it is done leniently and without seriousness. Sentencing is often biased and protective of the criminal’s rights over those of the victim.
Through the various practical forms of worship like Salah (the five daily prayers), fasting and Zakah (obligatory charity), Islamic teachings aim at implanting feelings of inner peace and security, responsibility towards others and mutual respect. In a video film by the Christian Science Monitor about Islam in America, a large portion was devoted to describing the lives of maximum-security prison inmates before and after becoming Muslims. Before reverting to Islam, many were serial killers, drug smugglers, addicts and professional criminals. When they embraced Islam while in prison, they turned into dignified, secure and contributing citizens. Western statistical indices show that in the majority of maximum-security prisons, the criminals get involved in criminal acts and end up back in prison. Such statistics are reversed when those inmates become Muslims. The success of Islam in providing the best solution to crimes in the midst of the western society, where all types of correction programs have failed, is strong contemporary evidence for the universality of Islam and the pressing need for adopting its teachings.
My respected people! But today, surprisingly Islam is portrayed as a religion of “terror” and “killing” by some ignoramuses, because of the evil actions of some criminal Muslims among us, yet this is just one of the most widely held misconceptions about Islam. Allah Almighty states unambiguously in the Quran:
“Nor take life — which Allah has made sacred — except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand retaliation or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life, for he is helped (by the Law).” [Quran, 17:33]
Based on this verse, it is Islamically unlawful to murder anyone who is innocent of any crime. At this point, we would do well to remember the distinction between the Quran and Sunnah, and the Muslims. Only the Quran and Sunnah are guaranteed to be in accordance with what the Creator desires, whereas the Muslims may possibly deviate. Hence, if any Muslim kills an innocent person, that Muslim has committed a grave sin, and the action cannot be claimed to have been committed “in the name of Islam.”
It should be clear, then, that the oft-used term “Muslim terrorist” is almost an oxymoron: by killing innocent people, a Muslim is committing a grave sin, and he is a criminal, and Allah is Just. This phrase is offensive and demeaning of Islam, and it should be avoided. It is hoped that as the general level of public awareness and understanding of Islam increases, people will keep “terrorism” and “Islam” separate from each other, and not use them in the same phrase.
Brothers and Sisters! Now let’s stop and sincerely ask our self, what are the causes and motivators of insecurity and terrorism?
Sincerely speaking, as Nigerians, we feel very insecure in our own country. Terrorism, kidnapping, insurgency, militancy, ethno religious crisis, cattle rustling, banditry, inflation, corruption, injustice, recession – all these words can be heard coming from your TV screens, radios, etc! It causes panic in the hearts of citizens! How did it get this bad? What can you do? I have the answer. Here are some of the causes of insecurity and terrorism:
The overwhelming unemployment rate in Nigeria is capable of causing panic! It’s especially obvious when it comes to Nigerian youths. According to the statistics, every tenth young citizen of Nigeria is officially unemployed. Another statistic provided by the NBS shows that unemployment rate in Nigeria has risen to 14%. It means that Nigeria does not get about 19% of its GDP! It’s the responsibility of the government to create new jobs. Alhamdulillah, the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has already announced new reforms which should help with this task. But still, there are no concrete results yet.
Few years back, the Transparency International places Nigeria on the top of the list for most corrupt countries in the world! Corrupted Nigerian politicians has become a turn off for international investors. Once Premium Times and Vanguard published an article where it tried to explain the corruption in Nigeria. According to this article, there is no real politician that’s wants to “kill” corruption in Nigeria. Corruption has already become a part of life in Nigeria. The Federal Government can’t show us one real politician interested in battling corruption in the country. But Alhamdulillah, with the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari, now we can say there’s hope in fighting it.
Different parts of Nigeria have a different speeds of development. Due to this, the oil-rich regions of the country feel disturbed when the Federal Government use “their oil” and do not develop their society. People of these regions feel cheated because of that. They want to take justice into their hands. That’s why they vandalize oil pipelines, attacks and kidnap oil workers. It’s one of the causes of insecurity in Nigeria. The Federal Government should deal with this problem. The only way is to balance the development of all regions of the country, in the North and the South.
4. Weak Judicial System
The Weak Judicial System causes insecurity in Nigeria. People feel insecure when criminals and terrorists can go free. A lot of evils minded people feel that money can buy freedom in Nigeria. The corrupt system proves this line of thought. Rich people and big men can buy their freedom in Nigeria. Poor people do not feel secure because of that! The Judicial System in Nigeria should be changed. There may be only one answer to that – transparency! The Federal Government should make sure a judge’s decision and power is transparent.
5. “Open” borders of Nigeria
Nigeria has borders that are poorly guarded. Insurgents, militants and criminals from other countries can infiltrate Nigeria with no problem. This situation is especially dangerous in the North East and the other region. The Federal Government of Nigeria can’t provide enough troops to secure the borders. Porous coastal borders are the main cause of terrorism in Nigeria. The Federal Government should increase the number of troops that guard borders. It’s also possible to train people to protect their regions from insurgents and criminals.
6. High Influx of Arms
Smugglers and other criminals use porous coastal borders of Nigeria to bring and sell arms! The Corruption system and weak judicial system only helps smugglers to sell even more guns. They provide pistols, shotguns, rifles, assault rifles, grenades, RPGs and explosives! These guns are used against the people, military forces and all our security agents. The Federal Government of Nigeria understands this situation and tries to find a solution. Still, it’s a complex problem. The government may need to ask help from residents and all the stakeholders of affected areas to patrol the borders together!
Narcotic trafficking is one of the causes of insecurity in Nigeria. Our youth became the consumers of hard drugs. Criminal groups are involved in smuggling of illegal substances to Europe, Asia, South Africa and North America. Nigerian gangs are one of the largest distributors of opium and cocaine in the world! Nigerians should fight this criminal trafficking! It’s not affecting just the country. The Federal Government should initiate cooperation with other countries to fight criminals! Opening an international investigation on the matter and creating groups responsible for this will help.
8. Slavery in Nigeria
The Walk Free Foundation of Global Slavery reports that a lot of Nigerians are trapped in human trafficking. For instance, women in Nigeria can be tricked to migrate to other regions in the country. They hope to find good jobs, but, instead of promised jobs, they sell their bodies for money. Some of them can be even sold to foreign brothels. The situation with human trafficking and forced labour in Nigeria is horrible. Nigerians should fight these crimes. You must make a report if you ever witness human trafficking or slavery. Do not be indifferent to this problem. People are born free and must live free!
9. Criminal Situation in Nigeria
For the last few years, Nigerians have been victims of robberies, kidnapping etc, which sometimes happens in daylight. Organized criminal gangs take over the streets of Nigeria. People do not feel safe when walking in the streets. Europe also feels the criminal situation in Nigeria. The ‘419 Scams’ tricked a lot of Europeans and Americans to part with their money! This situation is unique to Nigeria. Some of the corrupted government officials can’t provide help to Nigerians to fight with these criminals. The Federal Government should pay attention to this problem!
10. Terrorists Threat
Terrorism in Nigeria is not a new problem. Boko Haram insurgents, Niger Delta militants and IPOB agitators are three main terrorist groups that cause the most damage to Nigeria. They do not wish to surrender to the government. They just want to cause terror! The Federal Government of Nigeria keeps fighting with terrorists. Nigerian soldiers die every day for their country. Now, it’s the matter of time before the terrorists will be eliminated.
11. Political reasons
People choose terrorism and criminality when they are trying to right what they perceive to be a social or political or historical wrong. If we can remember, during the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland, which stretched from 1968 to 1998, Catholic and Protestant groups waged an ongoing campaign of violence against one another in Northern Ireland and in England, seeking political dominance.
Here in Nigeria for example, the injustice against the Fulani herdsmen by trying to make them second class citizens in the country, as Benue State under Governor Samuel Ortom starts anti grazing law implementation November 1st. If care is not taken, the action can plunge the country into unnecessary war.
The Governor is said to be training his civilian JTF to implement the law forcefully in the state, and in the other hand, the Miyetti Allah Fulani Group said nobody can stop them from grazing because they are Nigerians and all citizen can live anywhere they like, and they are ready to defend themselves from any attack.
Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has said despite the threat by Miyetti Allah (cattle herders group), the anti grazing law implementation will commence November 1st, and no going back.
The governor spoke at the State House, Abuja where he met with the President and demanded the arrest of leaders of Miyetti Allah for vowing to thwart the Benue State anti grazing law.
Samuel Ortom charged security agencies not to stand by and watch Miyetti Allah members “reverse the peace” among the people of the state and make it ungovernable.
We call on the Federal Government to take the matter serious and interfere to deal with this problem amicably before it’s escalation.
12. Religious reasons
From 1990s till date, a number of attacks carried out in the name of religion made headlines. The Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo perpetrated two deadly sarin gas attacks in the Tokyo subways in 1994 and ’95. In the Middle East, numerous suicide attacks since the 1980s till today have been celebrated as the work of so-called “Islamic martyrs.”
13. Socioeconomic reasons
Various forms of deprivation and frustration can drive people to terrorism and any kind of criminality, in particular, poverty, hunger, lack of education/illiteracy/ignorance, lack of political freedom or injustice. For example, the group Shining Path carried out a years-long campaign of violence against Peru’s government in the 1980s and early ’90s in an attempt to create a Marxist state.
Brothers and Sisters! It’s time to act! Nigeria is a wonderful country. World is a wonderful place to live! But unfortunately, they faces a lot of problems today due to insecurity! Do not be indifferent to these problems! You can help your country and the world to eliminate them.
Servants of Allah! Come, let’s join hand to spread peace on earth.
Imam An-Nawawi records in his book Riyadus-Salihin, Allah the Almighty said:
“O you who believe, do not enter houses other than your own houses until you ascertain welcome and greet their inhabitants with peace. That is best for you, that perhaps you will be reminded.” [Quran, 24:27]
And Allah the Most High said:
“When you enter houses, offer greetings of peace upon each other, a greeting from Allah, blessed and good.” [Quran, 24:59]
And Allah said:
“When you are greeted with a greeting, greet with one better than it or return it in a like manner.” [Quran, 4:86]
And He Allah said:
“Has there reached you the story of the honoured guests of Ibrahim (Abraham)? When they entered upon him and greeted him with peace, he said: And for you peace, a people unknown.” [Quran, 51: 24-25]
Abdullah Ibn Amr reported that:
“A man asked the Prophet, “Which Islam is best?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “To feed the hungry and to greet with peace those you know and those you do not know.”
Ammar Ibn Yasir said:
“Whoever has three qualities will have completed the Iman (faith): fairness from yourself to others, offering peace to the world, and spending in charity even while poor.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Abu Hurairah reported that:
“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: When Allah created Adam, He said: Go and greet with peace these groups of assembled angels and listen to how they greet you, for this will be the greeting among your progeny. Adam said: Peace be upon you. The angels said: Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Al-Bara Ibn Azib reported that:
“The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, commanded us to do seven things: to visit the sick, to follow the funeral procession, to bless those who sneeze, to return the greeting of peace, to accept invitations, to help others fulfill their oaths, and to support the oppressed.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Abu Hurairah reported that:
“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: You will not enter Paradise until you believe and you will not believe until you love each other. Shall I show you something that, if you did, you would love each other? Spread peace between yourselves.” [Sahih Muslim]
Abdullah Ibn Salam reported that:
“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: O people, spread peace, feed the hungry, and pray at night when people are sleeping and you will enter Paradise in peace.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
At-Tufail Ibn Ubay Ibn Ka’ab reported that:
“I would come with Abdullah Ibn Umar to the market and when we did so, Ibn Umar would not pass anyone but that he would greet them with peace, whether they were selling merchandise or were poor. I came to Abdullah Ibn Umar one day and asked him to follow me to the market. I said: “What will you do in the market if you will not sell or buy or barter or sit in the gatherings?” Ibn Umar said: O you with a big belly, we only go out in the morning to greet them with peace. We greet with peace whomever we meet.” [Muwatta of Imam Malik]
Brothers and Sisters! I think it’s very good before I conclude my Sermon to explain briefly what terrorism means.
Servants of Allah! Loosely defined, terrorism is:
“The use of violence with the aim of furthering a political or ideological goal at the expense of the general population. Terrorism can take many forms and has many causes, often more than one. It can have its roots in religious, social, or political conflicts, often when one community is oppressed by another.”
Some terrorist events are singular acts linked to a particular historical moment, such as the assassination of Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, which touched off World War I.
Other terrorist attacks are part of an ongoing campaign that may last years or even generations, as was the case in Northern Ireland from 1968 to 1998.
Servants of Allah! Although acts of terror and violence have been committed for centuries, terrorism’s modern roots can be traced to the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror in 1794–95, with its gruesome public beheading, violent street battles, and bloodthirsty rhetoric. It was the first time in modern history that mass violence was used in such a fashion, but it would not be the last.
In the latter half of the 19th century, terrorism would emerge as the weapon of choice for nationalists, particularly in Europe as ethnic groups chafed under the rule of empires. The Irish National Brotherhood, which sought Irish independence from Britain, carried out a number of bomb attacks in England in the 1880s. About the same time in Russia, the socialist group Narodnaya Volya began a campaign against the royalist government, ultimately assassinating Tsar Alexander II in 1881.
In the 20th century, acts of terrorism became more prevalent throughout the world as political, religious, and social activists agitated for change. In the 1930s, Jews living in occupied Palestine conducted a campaign of violence against the British occupiers in a quest to create the state of Israel.
In the 1970s, Palestinian terrorists used then-novel methods such as hijacking airplanes to further their cause. Other groups, espousing new causes like animal rights and environmentalism, committed acts of violence in the 1980s and ’90s. And in the 21st century, the rise of pan-nationalist groups like Al Qa’idah, ISIS, Taliban, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, Haqqani, etc, that use social media to connect its members have killed thousands in attacks in America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Servants of Allah! Below are some six extreme Christian groups that have shown their capacity for violence and fanaticism, to indicate that act of terrorism was not only carried out by Muslims, and we as Muslims cannot say they learn it from their religion – Christianity:
1. The Army of God
A network of violent Christians that has been active since the early 1980s, the Army of God openly promotes killing abortion providers – and the long list of terrorists who have been active in that organization has included Paul Jennings Hill (who was executed by lethal injection in 2003 for the 1994 killings of abortion doctor John Britton and his bodyguard James Barrett), John C. Salvi (who killed two receptionists when he attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1994) and Eric Rudolph, who is serving life in prison for his role in the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta in 1996 and other terrorist acts. Rudolph, in fact, has often been exalted as a Christian hero on the Army of God’s website, as have fellow Army of God members such as Scott Roeder (who is serving life without parole for murdering Wichita, Kansas-based abortion doctor George Tiller in 2009), Shelley Shannon (who attempted to kill Tiller in 2003) and Michael Frederick Griffin (who is serving a life sentence for the 1993 killing of Dr. David Gunn, an OB-GYN, in Pensacola, Florida).
Although primarily an antiabortion organization, the Army of God also has a history of promoting violence against gays. And one of the terrorist acts that Rudolph confessed to was bombing a lesbian bar in Atlanta in 1997.
2. Eastern Lightning, a.k.a. the Church of the Almighty God
Founded in Henan Province, China in 1990, Eastern Lightning (also known as the Church of the Almighty God or the Church of the Gospel’s Kingdom) is a Christian cult with an end-time/apocalypse focus: Eastern Lightning believes that the world is coming to an end, and in the meantime, its duty is to slay as many demons as possible. While most Christians have an extremely patriarchal viewpoint (much like their Islamist counterparts) and consider women inferior to men, Eastern Lightning believe that Jesus Christ will return to Earth in the form of a Chinese woman. But they are quite capable of violence against women: in May 2014, for example, members of the cult beat a 37-year-old woman named Wu Shuoyan to death in a McDonalds in Zhaoyuan, China when she refused to give them her phone number. Eastern Lightning members Zhang Lidong and his daughter, Zhang Fan, were convicted of murder for the crime and executed in February. In a 2014 interview in prison, Lidong expressed no remorse when he said of Shuoyan, “I beat her with all my might and stamped on her too. She was a demon. We had to destroy her.”
Eastern Lightning’s other acts of violence have ranged from the killing of a grammar school student in 2010 (in retaliation, police believe, for one of the child’s relatives wanting to leave the cult) to cult member Min Yongjun using a knife to attack an elderly woman and a group of schoolchildren in Chenpeng in 2012. Christian groups are not exempt from Eastern Lightning’s fanaticism: in 2002, cult members kidnapped 34 members of a Christian group called the China Gospel Fellowship and held them captive for two months in the hope of forcing them to join their cult. Although mainly active in the communist People’s Republic of China, Eastern Lighting has been trying to expand its membership in Hong Kong.
3. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)
The mainstream media have had much to say about the Islamist brutality of Boko Haram, but one terrorist group they haven’t paid nearly as much attention to is the Lord’s Resistance Army – which was founded by Joseph Kony (a radical Christianist) in Uganda in 1987 and has called for the establishment of a severe Christian fundamentalist government in that country. The LRA, according to Human Rights Watch, has committed thousands of killings and kidnappings—and along the way, its terrorism spread from Uganda to parts of the Congo, the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan. The word “jihadist” is seldom used in connection with the LRA, but in fact, the LRA’s tactics are not unlike those of ISIS or Boko Haram. And the governments Kony hopes to establish in Sub-Saharan Africa would implement a Christianist equivalent of Islamic Sharia law.
4. The National Liberation Front of Tripura
India is not only a country of Hindus and Sikhs, but also, of Muslims, Buddhists, Catholics and Protestants. Most of India’s Christians are peaceful, but a major exception is the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT). Active in the state of Tripura in Northeastern India since 1989, NLFT is a paramilitary Christianist movement that hopes to secede from India and establish a Christian fundamentalist government in Tripura. NLFT has zero tolerance for any religion other than Christianity, and the group has repeatedly shown a willingness to kill, kidnap or torture Hindus and Muslims who refuse to be converted to its extreme brand of Protestant fundamentalism.
In 2000, NLFT vowed to kill anyone who participated in Durga Puja (an annual Hindu festival) And in May 2003, at least 30 Hindus were murdered during one of NLFT’s killing sprees.
5. The Phineas Priesthood
White supremacist groups don’t necessarily have a religious orientation: some of them welcome atheists as long as they believe in white superiority. But the Christian Identity movement specifically combines white supremacist ideology with Christianist terrorism, arguing that violence against non-WASPs is ordained by God and that white Anglo Saxon Protestants are God’s chosen people. The modern Christian Identity movement in the U.S. has been greatly influenced by the Ku Klux Klan—an organization that has committed numerous acts of terrorism over the years—and in the 1970s, new Christian Identity groups like the Aryan Nations and the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord (CSA) emerged. Another Christian Identity group of recent decades has been the Phineas Priesthood, whose members have been involved in violent activities ranging from abortion clinic bombings to bank robberies (mainly in the Pacific Northwest). On November 28, 2014, Phineas Priesthood member Larry Steven McQuilliams went on a violent rampage in Austin, Texas – where he fired over 100 rounds at various targets (including a federal courthouse, the local Mexican Consulate building and a police station) before being shot and killed by police.
6. The Concerned Christians
One of the ironic things about some Christianists is the fact that although they believe that Jews must be converted to Christianity, they consider themselves staunch supporters of Israel. And some of them believe in violently forcing all Muslims out of Israel. The Concerned Christians, a Christianist doomsday cult that was founded by pastor Monte “Kim” Miller in Denver in the 1980s, alarmed Colorado residents when, in 1998, at least 60 of its members suddenly quit their jobs, abandoned their homes and went missing – and it turned out there was reason for concern. In 1999, Israeli officials arrested 14 members of the Concerned Christians in Jerusalem and deported them from Israel because they suspected them of plotting terrorist attacks against Muslims. One likely target, according to Israeli police, was Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque – the same Mosque that was targeted in 1969 (when a Christianist from Australia named Denis Michael Rohan unsuccessfully tried to destroy it by arson) and, Israeli police suspect, was a likely target in 2014 (when Adam Everett Livix, a Christianist from Texas, was arrested by Israeli police on suspicion of plotting to blow up Muslim Holy sites in Jerusalem).
Servants of Allah! Recent Las Vegas shooting that kills at least 59 people and injured 527 in deadliest ever US gun attack is still fresh in our mind. Where a so-called “lone wolf” gunman called Stephen Paddock (a Christian) carried out America’s deadliest mass shooting in a meticulously planned attack after waiting for three days in a hotel suite before striking at a festival crowd of 22,000. He fired on concert-goers from the vantage point of a 32nd-floor hotel room in Las Vegas.
Armed with as many as 23 weapons, including semi-automatic rifles, Paddock opened fire in a shooting spree that lasted between five and 10 minutes.
As police prepared to storm his hotel room, Paddock committed suicide by turning one of the guns on himself.
Brothers and Sisters! I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. And I pray He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.
O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.
My respected people! Anything good I have said in my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.
May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and upon his family and Companions.
With this I conclude my Khutbah (Sermon) and ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is All-Forgiving and Most Merciful.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Muharram 29, 1439 AH (October 20, 2017), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached through: +2348038289761.