As Muslims mark the Eid-el-Kabir today, President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Muslims to avoid violent extremist ideas, stating that violent extremism is giving Islam a wrong name.
The President said this in a statement on Saturday while felicitating with the Muslim faithful, saying they should be “the mirror through which others see the good virtues of our faith.’’
In his Sallah message, Buhari said, “Islam is a religion of peace and we should avoid violent extremist ideas that give Islam a wrong name because our conduct leaves more lasting impressions than what we say by word of mouth.
“Violent extremism is the greatest challenge facing Islam today and the only way we can neutralise its evil influence is to distance ourselves from the activities and teachings of those who preach indiscriminate violence against innocent people. This flies in the face of the teachings of Islam.”
The President’s message, conveyed in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, advised parents to “protect their children from the deadly exposure to violent extremists who manipulate and exploit those children for their own evil agenda.’’
He said extremism gave Boko Haram a major boost, blaming Muslim societies for failing to act on time to stop the style of preaching used by the terrorist group.
“Boko Haram became a deadly force and a major security scourge because Muslim societies were indifferent from the beginning to the activities of extremist preachers who manipulate innocent and gullible followers,” the President stated.
He added that extremism was like cancer, which must be detected and destroyed from its early growth stage.
But The President reassured Nigerians that his administration was working hard to close the chapter on Boko Haram terrorism, kidnappings and banditry.
Though he admitted that there had been “occasional setbacks’’ in the war against terrorism, Buhari insisted that “the Boko Haram militants have been so militarily weakened and scattered by our armed forces that they are no longer in a position to occupy any part of Nigeria, let alone hoist their flag and impose their reign of terror longer than 24 hours.’’
He stated further, “As our armed forces get more equipped and trained, in addition to being more motivated and reinvigorated, this administration is relentlessly committed to protecting Nigerians, no matter what it takes to bring a permanent end to this evil.”
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