Sultan knocks CAN over US report on religious persecution in Nigeria

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The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III has appealed to Muslim faithful not to be provoked by the statement released by Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) which validates a US report on Nigeria.

The Sultan described as “false and partial” the statement released by CAN validating the recent US classification of Nigeria as a nation that tolerates religious persecution.

The Sultan said he was also shocked by CAN’s claims.

The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, had announced the inclusion of Nigeria in the religion violations list.

According to Pompeo, “On December 18, 2019, the Department of State re-designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as Countries of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerated “systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom.”

“The Department renewed the placement of Comoros, Russia, and Uzbekistan on a Special Watch List (SWL) for governments that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom,” and added Cuba, Nicaragua, Nigeria, and Sudan to this list,”  Pompeo said.

CAN, while reacting to the report also alleged that the cases of Christians persecuted and killed in states like Kaduna, Benue, Plateau Adamawa and Taraba states could not have gone unnoticed by the US The association said although Muslims had also been reported killed in these states, it was evident that the major targets were Christians.

The association also noted the continued incarceration of Leah Sharibu who was held back after her schoolmates were released by their abductors, the Boko Haram terrorist group, following negotiations by the government in 2018.

But the Sultan who spoke at closing ceremony of 77th annual Islamic Vacation Course (IVC) organised by the Muslim Society of Nigeria (MSSN) at Bayero University, Kano said “if such persecution really exists, such is supposed to be tabled at the Interfaith forum where Muslims and Christians leaders meet periodically to discuss issues that would promote harmonious coexistence between the two religions (Christianity and Islam).”

The Sultan noted that most atrocities allegedly committed by armed Fulani herders were not triggered by religion, “as not all Fulanis are Muslims.”

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