|Nasir El-Rufai (photo from Internet sources)|
In May 2015, during inauguration of PMB, El-Rufai glowingly recounted on national television his personal efforts to convince Buhari to run for the office. He recalled how visibly angry Buhari was at that suggestion, based on the fact that the General had publicly and quite emotionally stated he wouldn’t contest again. But somehow, the group El-Rufai fronted for managed to convince the General, and the rest is now history. It is then clear that the strength and clout of El-Rufai in the new administration cannot be over-emphasized.
In any case, El Rufai is not one to keep people doubting about his influence in government, as his many actions and utterances over the months have shown.
As many Nigerians have observed, it can safely be surmised that Mr El Rufai has been given the mandate by his Group, with the assent of the President, to test-run and demonstrate the Group’s Islamization agenda first in his own state.
So, his totally unreasonable efforts to regulate religious practice in Kaduna state is understandable. Under the guise of wanting to douse religious tension in Kaduna state, El-Rufai presented to the State House of Assembly, a draft law which among other points, puts very stringent conditions on preaching (especially for out-of-town preachers), proscribes the use of “offensive language” against “a religious leader” both dead or alive; and threatens to arrest people for “carrying of weapons to religious places” ONLY when it is determined that it is “with a view to using them to cause RELIGIOUS disturbances ….”etc, etc.
A Christian commentator, Moses Gbenu has riddled the draft law with holes. For instance he wonders if El-Rufai understands that all Christians are commanded to preach the Gospel, making all of us, as preachers, liable to Mr El Rufai’s oversight in the proposed law. On the issue of offense, Gbenu wonders if El Rufai would agree that the several portions of the Koran referring to people of other religions, especially Jews, as “pigs”, “apes,” “donkeys,” etc are offensive. In fact, according to Gbenu, “If the law of El-Rufai must hold, close to 50% of the Quran must also be expunged or be banned under the law. Most Islamic books must have to be banned because most of them denigrate the core Christian doctrines and blaspheme Jesus our Lord. “
Gbenu also questions if El-Rufai’s definition of “religious leaders” include traditional religions (not to mention the new age religions) etc. In Gbenu’s opinion, the clause, especially the “dead or alive” portion, is simply trying to protect the Islamic prophet, and “to begin the so-called ‘blasphemy law’ as it is practiced in Pakistan and other Islamic nations under which Christians are murdered either by Muslim mobs or officially by government.”
Explaining this further, he writes: “A muslim may deliberately ask you whether or not you believe that Mohammed is the last prophet and the greatest. If you say you don’t believe this, he may accuse you of saying he is a false prophet. If you preach that Jesus is the ONLY Saviour, that also means that you are saying that Mohammed is a false prophet. The interpretation of ‘blasphemy’ knows no bounds when it comes to reference to Mohammed. That is the trap they are setting for Nigerian Christians.”
Of course, this is not far-fetched at all, and CA! has reported such cases in the past. For instance in Vol 12 No 5, we reported the case of a Christian couple in the UK being charged with a criminal offence, after their response in a discussion with moslem guests at their hotel was considered offensive to the Moslems (See details at www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1214666/Christian-hotel-owners-hauled-court-defending-beliefs-discussion-Muslim-guest.html). Of course that was child play compared to incidents here in Nigeria. Over a dozen churches, and several houses were razed down in Jigawa in 2003 when “Islamic militants” insisted that “ a Christian student of the FG Girl's College in Kazaure allegedly insulted the Prophet Mohammad in a discussion with another colleague.” The incidence in Kano in 2008 was even worse, involving loss of several lives, when a Christian lady turned down the unending marriage proposal from a moslem guy, who had finally made his request “in the name of the Messenger”. (http://www.christiantoday.com/article/churches.destroyed.in.wave.of.religious.violence.in.nigeria/16769.htm) Check the compilations in Behold I come Quickly, Book 3 for more reported cases.
Scanned copies of the El-Rufai Bill, provided by the Social Movement of Nigeria is posted here. A newspaper report on CAN's reaction to the Bill can be found here, while the full comments by Moses Gbenu is posted here on our blog.
We also see El-Rufai in recent times, speaking on behalf of President Buhari at a launch of 2 books by Moslem cleric, Late Justice Mohammad Bashir Sambo. There, in the name of the President, El-Rufai directed that the Nigerian Educational Research Council (NERC) should adopt the 2 books as standard textbooks for the “appropriate subject in all federal colleges in the country. “ (https://www.naij.com/506580-buhari-directs-inclusion-islamic-books-curriculum-fuels-concerns-among-nigerians.html)
What many Nigerians are not aware is that, the “appropriate subject” is a new subject to be taken by all students, including Christians. In the new arrangement concluded under the tenure of Prof Rukkayyat as Education Minister (Minister of state in the Education ministry, Nyeson Wike was at the time busy battling Rotimi Amaechi), both Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Religious Knowledge, together with Civics are now merged into one subject, Religion and National Values, which is mandatory for ALL students to take!
The recommended textbooks, which El-Rufai in the name of the President has decreed for teaching the compulsory subject, will have to be studied and digested by ALL Nigerian pupils, irrespective of their personal religious persuasion. This would leave no room for slack interpretation of the carefully crafted new curriculum! See an example of the impact of Islamic radicalization via textbooks in Pakistan here: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2016/0331/In-Pakistan-textbook-case-of-radicalization-in-public-schools
Consequently, as pointed out by several commentators , if this ploy succeeds, Christian children will soon be required to learn that “God has no son”; and to get the much needed “Credit” at WASC Exams, they must be ready to write essays declaring Jesus as only one of the prophets, and of much less authority than the Islamic prophet!
The Bible says God will laugh at such ploys from heaven and will move against his foes suddenly when they least expect (Psa. 2, Psa 37). It’s just like the little silly games played by the new sexuality lobby (see CA! Vol 7 No 3 ) or Eckankar (Vol 7 No 6 ) in the days of Prof Fabian Osuji as Education Minister.But as it is also often said, God does nothing except in response to prayers of the saints