The Chief Missioner of Ansar-deen Society of Nigeria, Sheik Rahman Ahmad, has said that the Boko Haram insurgency is more of politics and not religion, adding that some sinister politicians were only using religion as a potent force to carry out the dastardly act.
Ahmad, who said this during a one-on-one interactive programme, View From The Top on Channels Television , on Tuesday afternoon, lamented that "unfortunately, government and religious leaders have failed to rise to the occassion.
He said further that the Boko Haram insurgence is not a war against Christians or Muslims but a war against the conscience of the country.
"I think we all are not doing enough to curb this menace. The government is not doing enough, the faith communities are not doing enough too.
Unfortunately, the Muslims and Christian leaders are not rising to the occasion. They are pointing fingers at each other.
But I can assure everyone that it is not their war. It is not a war against them. It is not about religion or God. It is against the conscience of this country.
We are a one united nation and there is nothing that would happen in this country that will not affect both the Christians and the Muslims.
I do not believe that Nigeria would be better off by splitting. But even if that happens, it would be impossible to have a country where there are only Christians or Muslims," he said.
Speaking on the role that politics has played regarding the issue of Boko Haram in Nigeria, he said, "It is all about politics if you ask me, but politics employing religion as a potent force. Religion is meant to easily incite emotion and passion.
If we broaden our minds a little, we will see that certain politicians can go to any lenghth to turn communities against one another.
Unfortunately, people who have been living together for years would suddenly turn against each another and become enemies.
I can give you instances: the Urhobos and the Itsekiris, Ife and Modakeke, Ofa and Erinle. It happened in Jos too.
Ordinarily, these people have no difference in their languages and culture. They have been inter-married over time.
An issue will just come up and they will start fighting. These are all about politics. We never had it this bad in the first republic. Therefore, I see much of politics than religion," he averred.
Speaking on the role poverty has also played in the insurgence, he said, "There is a lot of poverty in the north. Not an ordinary poverty but a special kind of poverty.
I think to an extent, poverty has played a role but I want to tell you that it is not poverty that is responsible for what we are seeing now.
It is a backfire, backfire to the extent that politicians are cashing in on the low level of education, marginalisation and disenchantment in the area.
Poverty has played a role but it was religious sentiment, manipulation and low level of education to my mind that are responsible for all these."
Speaking on Jihad in Islam, he said, "Jihad is to strive towards a goal, every effort towards improving the lot of a particular community, to improve spiritually, educationally and economically is jihad.
It does not necessarily mean attacking innocent people, fighting or killing anyone. Far from it."
Sheik Ahmad, while also speaking on suicide in Islam, said: "Allah said in the Holy Quran that don’t use your hand to bring destruction to yourself or kill oneself.
Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) said that whoever killed himself will suffer the pains that he suffered at the point of death till the day of resurrection.
Islam totally condemns suicide. It says that whoever takes his life is like taking the life of humanity and whoever takes another life unjustly is like taking the life of a whole universe."
He added that the assertion that 70 virgins await a suicide bomber in heaven is not Quranic and un-Islamic, saying that Islam only preaches peace and harmony and does not provide safe haven for criminals.