Opinion and Analysis
By Aboo Aamir Al-Atharee (@aboo_aamir)
There is no doubt that Islam and Christianity are contenders; Judaism is a side thing. There are some certain major world crises that are borne out of contention between Islam and Christianity on one ground, and with Judaism on another ground. Judaism and Christianity have always claimed they are the ways to the heaven, so for Islam to come in much later and say Christianity and Judaism are in hell will definitely not go without a fight. Christianity and Judaism do not want to see Islam reign. Till today, the Jews are still dealing heavy blows on the Muslims in Palestine while the Christian powers of America, Britain, France and Russia look on.
The Muslims world over today are in a disarray. They have no single power. The Christian Europe has successfully defragmented the Muslims and made them into powerless units. If not by the Mercy of Allaah, the Mighty Lord, Islam would have been obliterated from the face of the earth. But the promise from Allaah is that Islam will rule the world even 'if the unbelievers detest it,' therefore, it is Allaah that is fighting for the Muslims.
And you did not kill them, but it was Allah who killed them. And you threw not, [O Muhammad], when you threw, but it was Allah who threw that He might test the believers with a good test. Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
One of those places where the Muslims had been irredeemably dealt a blow was Andalusia, the present day Spain and Portugal. The country of famous Islamic scholars such as Al-Qurtubee, Ash-Shaatibee, Ibn Rushd, Ibn AbdilBarr, etc. It is an historical fact that the Muslims ruled the vast land of Spain and Portugal for about 800 years but today the Muslims have been completely wiped out. Sadly, there had not been any genocide commemoration for the former Muslims of Spain as it is for the Jews of the alleged Adolf Hitler's gas chambers.
Christian obliterating Muslims in Andalusia was a gradual process: pretentious humanitarian services, education and conquest. The Muslims were caught off guard, and the Christians struck when it was most convenient.
Amina Advany Maglajlic (BA, Communication, Purdue University, 2014) wrote:
'In 1492, Queen Isabella of Spain made Islam illegal and hunted down and killed all Jews in Spain. Not quite the sweet queen we grew up thinking of who sent Christopher Columbus off on his trip around the world. Huh? At the time there were 500,000 Muslims living in Spain. Jews fled for their lives, the Muslim Ottoman Empire's Navy rescued as many Jewish refugees as it could, relocating them in the Ottoman Empire. Muslims went into Africa or Sicily which was Muslim territory at the time or they stayed, some converted, lured by money.
Stage 2 was after she found Muslims were not willing to convert for money, they began imprisoning them for anything and torturing them.
In 1502, the Queen declared that all Muslims were to be converted, killed or had to leave Spain. Many left, some fought, most 'converted' but still practiced Islam in their homes, in one city, the distrust was so high they passed a law that all windows and doors must be open from Thursday evening till Friday afternoon so soldiers could look into homes and check to see if anyone was praying.
100 years later in 1609, King Philip hammered the last nail in the coffin. He gave all the Muslims three days to leave Spain and provided no ship, Muslims left in droves. On their way, Christians would kill them for sport, kidnap their children to raise as Christians and steal what few things they were carrying with them. Once they got to the ships, the captains harassed them expecting payment. Sailors stole from them, raped their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters, and killed them.'
It was a dark history. Unlike the Christians and the Jews, the Muslim forces had always been magnanimous everywhere they took conquest to. Read the history of the Crusades and see who was merciful or merciless between the Muslim forces and the Christian forces.
History they say repeats itself. The Muslims of Ede, Osun State, Nigeria, are in for it with some Christians 'occupying forces.'
According to 1991 census, the population of Ede was 2.2 million. By projection, it will be close to 2.5 million by now. From this population, the Muslims can be said to carry about 95%. Ede is a Muslim city. Cities that share similar descriptions in the South West are Iwo, Oshogbo, Ibadan, Iseyin, Shaki and Ikirun. Christian 'missions' are ongoing in those places too. That of Iwo is very glaring, the Baptist Church is at the jugular veins of the Muslims over there.
The matter is like the Partition of Africa at Berlin in 1884. The Baptist Church is occupying Iwo while the Redeemed Church holds unto Ede.
The Redeemed Church of Nigeria, that has seemingly become the personal property of Pastor Adeboye, is one of the reigning Pentecostal churches in Nigeria with a special focus on the South West. It was founded in 1952 by Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi who died in 1980. It allegedly has the largest followership closely followed by the Winners' Chapel of Bishop Oyedepo all of whom have the same mission: fleecing the people for 'salvation', removing all obstacles in the way. The way church business thrives in Nigeria will make an intelligent person quake. It has practically made laziness out of many church owners while it perpetually makes the sheepish followers to remain daft and stupid. It is sheer modern day enslavement, at least of the intellect.
The Redeemed Church practical 'mission' started in Ede in 1993 when it came to establish its Redeemed Christian School of Missions, RESCOM, which would be precursor to Redeemer's University that was established in 2005 and eventually moved to Ede about a decade after.
The story of the coming of the University to Ede is rife with sad records. It was a story of sophisticated land grabbing with the support of the traditional and political authorities. Till date, an average Ede Muslim resident sees the church as an occupier. There are many lawsuits lingering in courts over the matter.
The defence from some quarters that the coming of the university to Ede is to better the economic life of the city has become a farce. If the University offers anything to the local people, it is menial jobs such as security or gatemen [which is even at an exchange of religion]. As for economical transactions, the school produces everything it uses from bread to ordinary packaged water. In fact, it has got a filling station, and it does refuse management for the people in lieu of payment.
A land, running into hundreds of hectares, has been carved out now and a launching empire, for things to come in the future, has been founded. The University and the Seminary college have been annexed behind the city outskirts and the original owners of the land had been sent packing. How many Muslim families had lost their farmlands and settlements in the process! Allaah's aid is sought. It is an injury only Allaah knows when it will heal up. It will definitely heal up one day, but how soon, nobody knows that.
Now manifestations of the 'missions' and crusades are setting in, the church has been making inroads into the Muslims of Ede. Redeemed churches are springing up here and there with propagandist dispositions. They do send the students of their mission school around the place evangelizing. Funny enough, these students are so impoverished such that when they have the slightest opportunity to sneak out of school, they beg people around for money and food. They do look haggard and famished despite paying through their noses for their apprenticeship of eating from the pulpit.
Where Redeemed churches spring up, they do so forcefully. After all, 'their father owns the land.' No gainsaying the fact that the church surreptitiously enjoys some political favours from the political actors in the Federal Capital.
Let us cite an example of the manifestations of their missions in Ede.
There was a case of a mosque at Yaa Salaam Area of Ede getting necessary approval from the local authorities being later coerced to practically stop worship after a Redeemed Church branch was to immediately spring up beside it. The concerned Muslims of the Mosque raised an eyebrow and petitioned the necessary authorities to forestall an impending crisis. Several meetings were called by the security people viz. the police, civil defence and the Ede South Local Government authorities under the leadership of Mr. Johnson Ojo who happens to be a Christian but not of Redeemed Church extraction.
It was made glaring in the meetings that the Church was at fault though the Local Government Authorities owned up saying it gave out the two approvals in error, which was a blatant volte-face. One Town Planning officer (name withheld), who happens to be a Muslim, had carried out a shady deal in giving out the approvals especially the second one that went to the Church.
All in all, it became glaring that the Muslims had a good case, that what was next was to revoke the second approval. Being a 'powerful' Church whose biddings must be done, the Local Authorities played a hanky-panky. It said all the parties should 'stay execution' otherwise it would revoke both approvals.
The security people in the last meeting where that skewed judgement was made were apparently not at home with the ruling. The police, the civil defence and the DSS were not satisfied, they had somehow opined that the Church should go. But did they have a choice?
As at the press time, the order remains and it seems the authorities do not know the next action. However, it was clear the authorities sided with the Christians for whom they are.
The question has been, if it were the Muslims that had the late approval, they would have been sent away ever since.
That is an example.
Another example is the issue of street naming. This has to do with the area where the mission school is located, Primary School Area, Ededimeji, Ede.
As was earlier said the school came to the area in 1993, apparently before them people had been there. But about five months ago, the school felt the street should bear its name officially. The name is Redemption Way. That is the name of the street of the first Redeemed Church in Lagos.
There would not have been any issue arising from that, but why will an entity foist its name on a Muslim dominated area, the people you met in that area?
The bye-law says whoever wants to have a street named under any name should apply to the local authorities. Then a notice would be posted informing the people of the community, if there is an objection within some stipulated days they should write to the authorities.
The Redeemed School applied truly and the noticed was posted. But the moment the school people saw people gathering and commenting on the notice which they knew would be negative given the existing hostility between the people of the area and the school, had the people not suffered because of the establishment of the school? Just that single night or the one that followed, the notices disappeared from the obscure places they had been posted.
Nevertheless, some concerned Muslims of the area rose to act. They contacted a lawyer who wrote to the authorities informing them of the rejection. Another letter was eventually written from the community level to the authorities. Fortunately, the community level involves both the Muslims and the Christians though the former were in the majority, as normal, given the nature of Ede earlier stated.
Some weeks after the local authorities under the same Mr. Johnson Ojo replied to the letter of the community but not that of the legal practitioner. One funny thing was that the community was told that if it wanted to reject the naming of the street as requested for by the Redeemed School, it must pay the sum of ten thousand naira. The community first contested that but they reasoned that they should pay it and see what would happen.
The money was paid to the account of the government but the sad thing was that the authorities eventually invited the community members and the school representatives to a parley, the community was induced into allowing the Christian School had its way. Mr. Johnson Ojo diplomatically made a leaning towards his brethren in faith. In fact, at a point, he went vindictive and vituperative saying the school gives him more political support than the community during elections.
The representatives of the community were told to go back home and talk to one another by allowing the Christians have their way. Though the community has thought that the best thing is to give the street a more neutral name acceptable to all.
However, the concerned Muslims in the area are waiting for the final outcome even though the pendulum has swung in favour of the church in a very cunning way.
Therefore, the Redeemed Church has become a sacred cow that must be touched or hurt. If it disturbs you, you are on your own. It is even a crime to cry out. How many times have the people cried out over the usual traffic blockage caused by the Redeemed Church at Ibadan-Lagos expressway on the last weekend of every month? Any solution? All of you must get redeemed by fire by force.
More on their impunity in Ede is the fact that people living around their mission school are always exposed to massive noise of drumming, singing and shouting all the periods of the day and night when the students are in school. The nuisance remains unabated.
In a related event, a reckless driver almost killed an elderly man living close to one of the fences of the school about a week ago. The driver had driven a jeep, said to belong to one of the top school officials, through the school fence and forced its way to the man's house passing through its living room and coming out from the other side. If not by the mercy of Allaah, the man would have been dead by now.
To save face, the school officials waded in and repaired the damaged house. But can you imagine if a Muslim had done what their driver did? It would have it the headlines by now.
Another impunity of theirs is the fact that all the privately owned secondary schools in Osun State are mandated to paint the colour of their school buses in yellow. Virtually all the schools in Osun State have complied save the 'all mighty' Redeemed Secondary school located inside the mission school Ede.
When government, State or Federal, declares Muslim public holidays such as Eidul-Fitr and Ad'ha, the Redeemed Secondary schools hardly observed it if it falls on weekdays.
Therefore, the Redeemed Church in Ede is actively marching on to deal Andalusian blows on the Muslims of Ede and its environs. The journey may be long but it has definitely set out, it is now left for the Muslims to rise and block the blows.
This is not a call to violence but to mental alertness and preparedness. Muslims must not look on and say there is no problem. There is fire on the mountain.
The power of the Muslims lies in following the Qur'aan and Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu alayhi wa sallam), when they do so the enemy will vanish.
Allaah's aid is sought.