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COLUMN/OPINION

Religious Tolerance: Of Perspectives And Hypocrisy, by Gimba Kakanda

A few weeks ago, I made a post to trivialize the culture of wearing amulets as a protection against bullets. It’s a practice common where I grew up among both Muslims and Christians, and I never for once thought of it as a creed of some African traditional religions. Even as I typed this, there are millions of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria who fester in this belief, and I’ve always cautioned against it.
I have my reason. So many impressionable people have been led to their grave by such scam and others destroyed by such pursuits. While some, emboldened by the amulets, got gunned down in action and never got to see the impotency of their belief, others went as far as sacrificing their loved ones to validate such pseudo-spiritual acquisitions.
What was intended to be a campaign against mass suicide and ritual killings, which have unfortunately been mainstreamed by our movie industry, was interpreted as a bigoted caricaturing of other people’s religion—and it even evolved into a sectional war. Aside from the audacity to “own” an ancestral practice that’s still common in my place and among Muslims, it’s ridiculous to excuse self-designed mass suicide and ritual killings.
But this isn’t why I’m telling this story. The same characters who rushed to carpet me then for stating that amulets won’t save Sunday Igboho and friends from a hail of bullets, accusing me of intolerance to an African traditional religion, are currently at their loudest in defending a Sahara Reporters story perceived as blasphemy by the Muslims.
A few weeks ago, the hypocrites defended Igboho as passionately as they could their own parents, and that any ridiculing of his amulets is a measure of religious intolerance, but the same characters are defending and justifying the comparison of Prophet Muhammad’s Hijra with Igboho’s flight from his anti-Fulani battle. Suddenly, it’s an earned liberty to offend members of another religion.

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