Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has slammed the spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Management Committee (PCC), Dino Melaye, for saying Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential flag-bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 election, is not a Muslim.
Melaye had, in a tweet on Monday, challenged Tinubu to recite the Fatiha and three suras to demonstrate that he is a true Muslim.
He tweeted: “Fathia challenge: Dino defeated Tinubu in Quranic citation. Emilokan is not a Muslim but an emergency Muslim trying to learn the basics of Islam for political purposes. Vote him out.”
However, MURIC has now fired back at Melaye, insisting he had no moral right to question Tinubu’s level of faith.
MURIC’s reaction was contained in a statement issued on Wednesday by the director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads :
“Senator Dino Melaye, the spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Committee (PCC), has said the presidential flag-bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 election, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is not a Muslim.
“Dino Melaye also described the APC candidate as ‘an emergency Muslim’ and asked the electorate to vote against him in next month’s election.
We are astonished by Dino Melaye’s statement. To say the least, it is false, baseless and unfounded. It is a product of oral diarrhea. It is also an intrusion into Muslim affairs by a non-Muslim who does not enter the mosque with us. It is therefore provocative, preposterous and ill-advised.
“Dino Melaye is not qualified to utter such a statement. The last time we checked, Dino was busy climbing trees. There is no record of his ever attending a madrasah (Quranic school) talk less of being an Islamic scholar. Can he therefore tell us when Tinubu came to him to learn Surat al-Fatihah which he claimed Tinubu does not know? Is he Tinubu’s Alfa?
“Dino comes across as a meddlesome interloper and a confusionist who, faced by an eminently qualified and indubitably superior opposition candidate, clings at straws in a desperate search for foul means to demonise this primus inter pareil presidential material called Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“He knows very well that Tinubu is the numero uno among all the presidential candidates for the 2023 elections. Dino is currently frustrated because he is aware that Tinubu is the doyen of Nigerian Muslims and their choice for the presidency despite the fact that his principal, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is also a Muslim.
“This is where Dino is going. His message was meant to be digested by Nigerian Muslims. That is why it is MURIC’s business to tackle him. He appears to be saying, ‘Drop Tinubu. He is not Muslim enough. Stop following him. My principal is a better Muslim’.
“But Nigerian Muslims are not being parochial. They did not pick Tinubu because he is a Muslim. They picked him because of his pedigree. They picked him because they know that he is capable of managing the Nigerian economy in this turbulent world just as he did in Lagos State when the going got rough.
“Melaye has failed, however. We know Tinubu is not a Shaykh or an Islamic scholar. Not every Muslim must be an Islamic scholar anyway. It is enough for us that he is a Muslim. We are also aware that only a tolerant Muslim can unite Nigeria in its present condition and Tinubu happens to be the round peg in the round hole.
“Why should that be a problem for Dino? Why is he taking panadol for our perceived headache? Dino should realise that he cannot weaken the resolve of Nigerian Muslims to support Tinubu.
“A similar smear campaign was engineered when Tinubu sat on a chair during salat (prayer) inside a mosque. It is only ignoramuses that can criticize a Muslim for using a chair during salat. It is a common practice even in Makkah and Madinah. It is Shariah-compliant.
“Muslims who have knee problems are allowed to sit on chairs during Salat. Even the director of MURIC sits on a chair during Salat and he goes about with a foldable chair in his car boot. Dino’s tag of ‘emergency Muslim’ for Tinubu holds no water. It is a misnomer. Tinubu is not a convert. So what necessitated that label?
“Neither is Tinubu homo sapien incognito to the Muslims of Lagos, nay, the whole of Yorubaland. We can also confirm that Tinubu is the most popular and most loved Southern Muslim in the North. We assert clearly, categorically and unequivocally that Tinubu is a bona fide Muslim. Dino Melaye should shut up.
“Dino is wasting his time if he asks Muslims to vote against Tinubu in the next election. We are not surprised anyway. A man who spent 11 hours on tree top must have a flair either for time-wasting or for authoring the other version of truth.
“Dino Melaye is behaving to type because we are aware that Christians are in the habit of telling Southern Muslims that Northern Muslims would not pray behind a Southern Imam. Only a fool will not know the motive behind such gimmick. Of course it is divide et impera.
“Otherwise why should it be the business of a Christian to raise such alarm? Christians may love Muslims and vice versa, but when did Christians start loving Muslims more than themselves? They are merely keen on dividing Muslims but eager to solidarise with fellow Christians in the North, the Middle Belt and the South East. They ask us to abandon Northern Muslims but they stick to Northern and South Eastern Christians. How logical is that?
“Even their claim that Northern Muslims will not pray behind Southern Imams is false because the reverse is what we see inside mosques in the South. We see Northern Muslims praying behind Southern Imams everyday in Lagos, Ibadan, Akure, Oshogbo, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Abuja, etc. That stunt has failed because Muslims North and South are still united and they stand in solidarity with Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima in a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“We will continue to manifest love and friendship towards those Christians North and South of Nigeria who respect Allah-given fundamental human rights of Muslims. At the right time, we will respect the right of those who respect our right to brandish a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“We advise Dino to turn his attention to other useful things. Nigerian Muslims are determined to bring Tinubu to power. We need Tinubu to reenact the Midas touch demonstrated in Lagos. We have seen Lagos and we crave Lagos. But only Lagosians and those who have visited Lagos have tasted the fruits of Tinubu’s dividends. We are eager to see those dividends spread all over Nigeria.
“As we drop the anchor, we warn that no intruder should show us parameters for measuring Tinubu’s level of faith. Dino Melaye should leave that to the Muslims. Dino is not one of us. Therefore, he has no locus standi to question Tinubu’s level of faith as a Muslim. Our message to Dino Melaye is : Don’t go there at all, caveat emptor.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)