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Sunday, 6 September 2009

Nigeria: Group Backs Sanusi on Islamic Banking

A group, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has thrown its weight behind moves by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to establish Islamic banking in the country.
It would be recalled that Sanusi recently stressed the need to reassess the opportunities provided by the Islamic finance system in combating the current financial crisis.
However, MURIC in a statement by its Director, Dr. Is-haq Akintola, said “it is our considered opinion that the interests of all stakeholders in the Nigerian project should be taken into consideration.”
Akintola, who expressed misgivings over “barrage of criticisms from the traditionally Islamophobic Nigerian elite class”, however, said “this segment of the Nigerian population, though infinitesimally small in numerical strength, monopolises the paraphernalia of education, information and articulation, tools which they have never hesitated to exploit in their bid to masquerade falsehood in a garment of truth, particularly in arrogating all the priviledges in the land to other groups while ensuring that nothing goes to the Muslims. Whereas Almond and Verba defined democracy as a political system in which ordinary citizens exercise control over elites through norms accepted by elites and non-elites, the Nigerian intelligentsia would want this turned the other way round.”According to him, “We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) are not deceived by the anti-Muslim antics of the Nigerian elite, a minority which has been imposing its will on an overwhelming majority since independence. This group is well known for holding successive governments to ransom and blackmailing the oppressed and marginalised Muslims. Each time the Muslims express their minds and timidly request representation, they are shouted down and stigmatised as 'terrorists', 'fundamentalists', 'extremists', 'fanatics', etc. While MURIC frowns upon violence of any type, we are averse to the 'deafness' of the authorities to the yearnings of Nigerian Muslims. None of the demands of Muslims has gained governments' attention: Shariah, Free Friday, Islamic Banking, etc. No official response has ever been given to Muslims. It is as if the latter do not exist. This carefree attitude is responsible for most religious crisis in this country.
“Thus, a multi-religious nation like Nigeria should not be stampeded into any parochial system, its socio-economic setup must mirror the variety in its composition. Anything short of this is like putting a square peg in a round hole. Nigeria 's failure to involve all citizens and groups in rights and priviledges of the land has cost the nation very dearly in the past. The Niger Delta imbroglio, constant religious riots, ethnic crisis and incessant strikes are just a few instances.
“There are no silent fools in the world anymore. Nigeria should take a cue from other parts of the world where peace has eluded society due to the pursuit of assymetrical policies. Liberia , Sierra Leone , Congo DR, Zaire , etc. The marginalisation of Shiites in Iraq led to the downfall of Saddam Hussein and the attendant daily massacres.”
Akintola further added that “Democracy entails involvement of all. But in Nigeria Islam and the Muslims have been treated like lepers. Political scientists have always associated democracy with general will and popular participation. Jack Lively’s definition of democracy as a ‘situation of equality’, Margolis ‘equal opportunity to participate’ and Otwin Marenin’s contention that democracy exists when the institutions and policies of the society represent the consent and interests of all citizens testify eloquently to the need for the involvement of all.
“Britain has Islamic banks and they are doing well. The greed and reckless consumerism associated with Western banking system led to the present global economic meltdown. Countries all over the world are searching frantically for solutions. What is wrong if Nigeria tries the Islamic system too when it will not eliminate Western banking system but run parri passu?”

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