The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) is mortified by the outbreak of deadly and devastating war on the besieged Palestinians in Gaza. The savagery of the assaults is heart-rending. The horrendous attacks on civilians are unfortunate and the Council calls for immediate cessation of hostilities against Gaza. The recent attack on Israel by Hamas -an original creation of Israel which was turned against it by conscience- was just a ring in a long chain of incidents that should have been addressed given that actions and reactions are always in a state of flux. We should also remember that Israel staged the coup against the democratically elected Hamas in Palestine. When people are pushed to the wall, they fight back and that was what Hamas did. However, an all-out war and complete siege on two million defenseless people is atrocious, abhorrent and unjustified.
The circumstances leading to the current escalation are well known to the discerning. It is because Israel has persistently failed to honour United Nations resolutions, implement the two-state solution of the Oslo Accord and guarantee Palestinians’ economic and political security. The Israelis have rather imposed a most abhorrent colonial policy on the besieged enclave. They have also continued to treat Palestinians as sub-humans and made Gaza the largest open air prison in the world under the ungodly false mantra that Palestine was a land without people and Israelis were people without land.
There should be no double standards regarding the enthronement of sustainable peace. While it is desirable to toe the path of peace, peace without justice would only precipitate future crises. It is very sad that world leaders only pay lip service to peace but are unwilling to enthrone justice in the Israeli-Palestinian relations. Justice requires that oppressors be stopped and the oppressed comforted.
The Council is disappointed that, in its usual dishonourable way, the United States has openly and shamelessly taken sides with Israel in spite of its brazen and incessant aggressions and massacre of the Palestinians for about eight decades now. The United States obviously has never accorded sanctity to the life of the Palestinians, neither had it ever shown sincere support and commitment to the struggle and the natural quest for freedom that Palestinians are yearning for.
It is, therefore, unfortunate that the United States has fallen short of the humane values of justice, freedom, security and protection of life that it always purportedly proclaims. As we all have blood flowing in our veins and share a common humanity, to pretend that the frustration of Palestinians and the silence of the world to their suffering and oppression will not lead to aggression is to stand logic on its head. Their mass humiliation has even been exacerbated by the hardline policy of the current Israeli government that sees them as animals.
While there is a lot of ignorance and intolerance in the discourses and effusions on the unfolding tragedy, including by religious leaders who know nothing than falsely stir emotions, the analysis of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and eminent scholar, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, has put the issues at stake in perspectives without sentiments. According to him, “the way the Palestinians have been treated over the years with the international community just condemning Israel for the way it has treated the Palestinians (just condemnation) and has done nothing to protect and advance the interest of the Palestinians is unconscionable. So, to condemn Hamas for what it did three days ago, to me, is an aberration of justice.”
It is in line with this fact that the Council also calls on the Federal Government of Nigeria to, as it did with apartheid in South Africa and for the sake of humanity and justice, come out and stand clearly with the helpless victims of persistent Israeli persecution, massacre, oppression and suppression.
No truly religious person will support any person, party and country that has been perpetually oppressing and humiliating others, including tens of thousands of Palestinian Christians. Even prominent Jews such as Dr Gabor Mate who confessed that no true conscience would condone the atrocities of Israel. We recommend the clips of the confession of Dr Mate to people of conscience. Hatred, bigotry and hubris would reveal the hollowness of those who cannot differentiate between respecting the sanctity of humanity and projecting their vacuous and misplaced religiosity. What is important at this stage is a genuine commitment to the international protocol and frameworks that will entrench peace and stability in the region. The provocations that led to the current tragedy such as indiscriminate arrests and torture of Palestinians, the expansion of illegal settlements in Palestinian areas, the consistent desecration of the Aqsa Mosque and the economic strangulation of the Gazans and Palestinians in general should be reversed.
We call for the immediate cessation of violence and the opening of humanitarian corridor for the delivery of food and medical supplies to Gaza. Enough damage, destruction and deaths have been done already and we wonder how many thousands of civilians have to die to assuage the cravings of the bloodthirsty gladiators.
The Council commiserates with the people of Palestine on the huge losses they have recorded before and during the current war and calls for immediate ceasefire. We also pray for peace, justice, security and humanity in the world because violence is an evil wind that blows no one any good. The world, beginning from the United States to the rest of those who turn a blind eye to the Israeli atrocities, should wake up to the fact that all humans are equal and justice is the best guarantor of peace. The two-state solution appears a mid-way out, though still not totally just to the Palestinians.
The Council calls on all Muslims, particularly Nigerians to offer special prayer to Allah, Who revealed Suratul Fil, for divine rescue of the oppressed Palestinians.
Prof. Salisu Shehu
Yunus Ustaz Usman, SAN
National Legal Adviser
1st Rabiul-Thani 1445 AH
16th October 2023