“All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
Let’s think of it this way. Imagine you are one of the greatest scientists from Nigeria with vast knowledge of our space. You are astrophysicist, cosmologists and astronaut working for NASA. One beautiful night, after presenting your scientific paper on the possibility of the existence of friendly aliens on Mars, the president of the United States promised to pay for a new project to send you to the Mars to confirm the existence of the creatures and discuss with them (in any possible way of communication) on how to have inter-planetary relationship between Earth and Mars.
You became very happy! For all your life, there is nothing you want to do beyond quenching your scientifically thirsty and astronomically enquiring mind. The day to go came. You were very happy to go after the president fulfilled his promise. Workers at the NASA prepared and decorated you and other astronauts to join you in the expedition. You entered the rocket, and after counting 1,2,3, you were fired with highest velocity and accelerating force.
After 942 hours (39 days), moving at 58,000 kph, you landed on Mars. It was a beautiful journey with everything you might need. Oxygen that could take you for many years, the food you could eat for whole of your life (assuming you’ll live there for 50 years), and almost everything you might think it is necessary for your survival. After landing on the Mars, in less than a day, you found the friendly aliens you were looking for. They took you to their king who gave you a very beautiful high-tech cave, like the one we watch in science-fiction films. You slept in the cave peaceful snoring only to woke up and found your spacecraft devastated by thunderstorms! No way to come back to Earth!
The king of the aliens promised to give you all you might want but no freedom of speech! It would be abomination to pray to your God, to have sex with your wives, to say sky is blue because the aliens with different sense organs see it blue, or to express your opinions even among yourselves. You should never say there are lakes or rivers on Earth since on the Mars no any of the scholars surrounding the alien-king found that in their religious scriptures. To summarise it, all what you know on Earth and take as self-evident truth are taken as nothing but blasphemy. Alien police would be with you all the time to watch your movements, because your opinions are threat to the peace of the Mars according to the alien scientists. This is the verdict and the consensus of the alien-scholars on the planet. Your “views” are not views and your “perceptions” are not perceptions. Imagine living in a world that have no respect for your views and you have no right to express your opinion! A world with no freedom of speech!
Let me not take you to the world of imaginations. Similar of what I’ve said above happens every day here on Earth. Think of it in this ridiculous claim : Islamic “scholars” in Nigeria conclude that shiites are threat to national security. Why? Because, shiites process on Ashura (religious practice) blocking roads in the same way every sect does every Friday. To put it more vividly, Qadiriyya sufi order blocks roads for a day within Kano city every year. Tijjaniyya order and Izala sect block roads during their annual Maulud and “wa’azin kasa” respectively. All Muslims block roads on Friday. Why the blame on shiites alone?
Another reason that these pseudo-scholars give as an indicator of the shiites being threats to the national security, is how the shiites used to pray for the establishment of shari’a and Islamic republic in Northern Nigeria. But is this not hypocrisy? All of these “scholars” preach for building theocratic utopia. Aren’t they the same people who give sermons on the beautiful shari’a law? Aren’t they the same Imams every Friday on pulpits shouting that we will move to nowhere as Muslims without shari’a?
Some inexperienced in the art of hypocrisy among them will tell you the truth of the matter. Why they hate the shiites has nothing to do with national security. It is deeply rooted in the way they take the fallibility and infallibility of companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) differently. It is conflict of interpretations of Islamic History between sunni and shiite scholars. The majority sunni northern Nigerians want silence the opinions of the minority shiites. This means if they can’t silence them, they are ready to use every available weapon in their arsenal, whether physical (killings and destructions) or psychological (by calling whoever stands for them as filthy infidel shiite), in forcing them to be silent.
While these debates and arguments between sunnis and shiites are as long as the history of Islam and I don’t see the near end of them, the secular Nigeria has nothing to do with it. These “scholars” know very well that the constitution of Nigeria gives freedom of speech and religion, and they know that no one is above the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They are now trying to link their intra-religious rivalry with national security through sentiments. Where were they when Boko Haram was bombing and shooting us? Majority of them became silent in fears of their possible fate. Nigeria should not be dragged into this again. Zaria massacre is enough. Kaduna mayhem should be a lesson.
I know I will not escape the harsh comments of those who see everything through the narrow prism of sectarianism. Some will call me a “filthy shiite” and infidel because I stand for their rights. One day they will call me an “animal” when I start fighting for the rights of animals. I enjoy name callings. Allah demands us to be just and stand by the side of the oppressed. I want be me not any puppet moved by sectarian desire. I want stand for justice. I don’t see people dressed in religious, ethnic or tribal bigotry; I see them as human beings. They are all equal. The best of mankind is the one who fears God most. The fear of God can only be seen in the mirror of justice not in sentiments and brouhaha. Call it whatever you may want, but I don’t think it is right to deny anybody his rights because of his religious, racial or ethnic attachments.
This one is just a beginning of breaking the silence.