Muslim leaders and religious organizations around the globe have unanymously expressed their horror at the bombings of Christian churches in Nigeria which took place on Christmas Day, killing 39 people.
The first explosion struck during Christmas Mass at St Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, near Nigeria's capital Abuja, killing 35 people and wounding another 52. A second blast hit Jos near the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church, and one officer died when gunmen opened fire on police guarding the area. There were also reports of a blast at a church in the north-eastern town of Gadaka.
Nigerian Muslim leaders were vociferous in their condemnation of the atrocities, which were claimed by the extremist group Boko Haram. All of the Nigerian islamic leaders and organizations condemned the attacks in the strongest terms.
The Muslim Congress of Nigeria (TMC) in a statement issued by its President, Ustadh Luqman AbdurRaheem described the bombings as "inhuman, wicked, condemnable and totally unacceptable in civilised societies." adding that "The action is even more repulsive during the periods of celebration."
He emphasised the position of the TMC that whatever motivated the incessant bombing of Nigerians did not find any place or theological justification in Islam.
"The solution to whatever disagreement, definitely, is not killing and bombing but dialogue and tolerance."
"The Congress again appeals to all Nigerians, irrespective of their religious and ideological inclinations, to cooperate with the Federal Government and security agencies to nip the insanity of the Boko Haram in the bud by reporting suspicious moves and antics."
Another leading Nigerian Islamic organization, Jama-atul Nasril Islam (JNI) declared that "the bombings and other acts of terrorism are not part of Islamic teachings. Islam frowns at such barbaric acts."
The Secretary General of the JNI, Sheikh Dr. Khalid Abubakar, in an interview with British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Christmas day, said: "This act of terrorism should be condemned openly by both religions and true believers of both faith should come out and disown them and express disapproval of the act and state true position of their various faith on the issue."
Muslim imams throughout the country made individual staements against the tragedy. Sheik Muhammad Isa of Kano described the attack as "unfortunate and heartless," adding that that "no worshipper should be attacked at a place of worship especially on holy days."
He asserted that the attackers were not adherents of any faith, since no true believer could cause such harm to innocent people.
Sheikh Usman Saif, another scholar from Kano, said God would not spare the bombers "for using a religious period to shed blood and upset people. How can a person or a group of people, who believe in God, hunt people at such a period when people were praying to God?"
A Global Muslim Outcry
Muslims around the world joined in the condemnation, clarifying that there is nothing in Islam that could ever justify such henious acts.
The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, condemned the violence and conveyed to the families of the victims, the government and people of Nigeria, his heartfelt sympathy and condolences.
In Malaysia, Kamarudin Jaffar, speaking on behalf of the Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS) denounced Nigeria's Christmas Day church bombings. "PAS, together with the international community, condemns the church attacks in the strongest terms possible."
In the UK, Muslim Council of Britain secretary general Farooq Murad said: "There is nothing in our faith of Islam that can condone attacks on places of worship or on Christians as we have seen today."
The attacks take place at the most important celebrations for Christians, it is offensive and Muslims condemn such actions. It threatens the fragile state of relations between Muslims and Christians, which has been peaceful in the past."
"Sectarian attacks as we have seen in Nigeria and in Iraq last week are reprehensible - people who claim to carry out such carnage in the name of Islam are completely mistaken and are as much enemy of Muslims as anyone else."
The French Council of Muslim Faith (CFCM) accusing Boko Haram of "violating the fundamental principles" of Islam, in a statement received by AFP.
"The CFCM condemns in the strongest terms the wave of terrorist attacks against churches in Nigeria, including Abuja and Jos, on Christmas Day, causing many casualties among the faithful who attended the celebrations of the Nativity" the statement said.
"The CFCM expresses the strongest indignation against the barbarity of the crimes claimed by tBoko Haram which claims membership in Islam even though it violates Islam's values ââand fundamental principles, including respect for the right to life and the equal dignity", it said.
In Canada, the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, Imam Syed Soharwardy, said: "This is an extremely deplorable crime that has been committed by those people who follow the hate-mongering ideology of Wahabism. It's not Islam. This is an un-Islamic action."
"On the day of Christmas this terrorism is worse of its kind. The attacks on churches while Christians were praying and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ cannot be done by anyone who knows and follows Islam."
"The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada expresses deep sadness on the loss of innocent lives. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the worldwide Christian community in solidarity against this violence."
"The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada demands that the criminals must be captured and punished to the full extent of the law."
In the United States, the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) relased a statement saying: "We condemn the unconscionable and inexcusable attacks on Nigerian churches and offer sincere condolences to the loved ones of those killed or injured. "
"Only a strong demonstration of interfaith unity will show those behind the attacks that they will never achieve their goal of dividing society along religious lines."
"TMC condemns Christmas Day bombings" The Nigerian Observer December 26, 2011
Garba Muhammad, "Christmas bombing: ACF, JNI, CAN condemn terrorism" The Moment December 26, 2011
"Islamic Scholars Condemn Christmas Day Bombings" Leadership December 26, 2011
"OIC condemns latest violence in Nigeria" Emirates News Agency December 26, 2011
"Outcry at Muslim sect bomb attacks on Christians" Yorkshire Post December 26, 2011
"Les musulmans de France condamnent les attentats contre les Ã©glises du Nigeria " AFP December 26, 2011
"Canadian Islamic group condemns Nigerian bombings" CTV news calgary December 26, 2011
"CAIR Condemns Attacks on Nigerian Churches" The Sacramento Bee December 26, 2011
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today