President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerian Muslims to avoid extremist ideas, stating that the greatest challenge to Islam was violent extremism.
In a statement issued by Garba Shehu, his senior special assistant on media and publicity, the President in his Eid-El-Kabir message admonished Muslims to be the mirror “through which others see the virtues of our faith.
According to Buhari, Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims should avoid violent extremist ideas that give Islam a wrong name because their conducts will leave more lasting positive impressions than what they say by word of mouth.
The president also challenged Muslims to distance themselves from those preaching violence in the society, emphasizing on the importance of putting the virtues of the religion into practice and making justice and righteousness their guiding principles. He said:
“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.”
He advised parents to protect their children from the deadly exposure to violent extremists who, he said, manipulated and exploited children for their own evil agenda.
“Boko Haram became a deadly force and major security scourge because Muslim societies were indifferent from the beginning to the activities of extremist preachers, who manipulate their innocent and gullible followers,” he said.
“Extremism is like cancer which must be detected and destroyed from its early stages of growth.”
He, however, assured Nigerians that Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping and other forms of banditry would be dealt with “uncompromisingly until we see the back of these evils plaguing our country”.