LAGOS - A weekend's massacre of Muslim worshippers at a mosque in Konduga village in Borno state by Boko Haram group has been widely condemned by Nigerian Muslim groups, urging the media to avoid identifying the sect with Islam.
The massacre is highly condemnable and we ask the government to do something urgently to halt this endless cycle of violence, Sulaiman Alamutu, spokesman of the Muslim Students Association of Nigeria (MSSN), told OnIslam.net.
Alamutu urged the media to avoid identifying the sect with Islam because nothing in their conducts suggest that they are Muslims.
"Their activities are the exact opposite of what Islam calls for," he added.
The deaths occurred early on Sunday when men in camouflage crept into a local mosque in Konduga, a village 34 kilometres Southeast of Maiduguri, capital of Borno, and opened fire, killing at least 44 worshipers and sending dozens of others to the hospital.
Some 20 miles away, 12 other people were killed in a similar attack, local security sources said.
Disu Kamor, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC), condemned the Boko Haram killings of innocent Nigerians, Muslims and Christians, elderly and children, in its demented campaign of violence against the state.
Kamor insisted that members of Boko Haram are not Muslims, saying nobody with knowledge of Islam and history of the Muslims would identify the sect with the religion whose identity is peace and moderation.
We condemn in absolute terms all that Boko Haram stands for, Kamor told OnIslam.net.
We reject their call for Islamization of Nigeria on their own terms because neither the Qur'an nor the Hadith of the Prophet call us to violence, intimidation and aggression which have been the hallmark of this evil group.
Prof. ISHAQ Lakin Akintola, head of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), lamented the massacre of the Muslims who he dubbed martyrs.
Killing innocent people who were observing their obligatory prayers as Muslims cannot be excused under whatever guise, said the university don who teaches Islamic Studies at the Lagos State University.
And this massacre has again confirmed our position that Boko Haram extremists are against all of us Nigerians and we must unite across faith level to tackle the challenge.
Rejecting the latest attacks by the radical Islamist Boko Haram group, Muslim leader supported trials for Boko Haram members at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The ICC trying the group's leaders for war crimes will be interesting. Of course, they should be tried if our government can hand them over to the body, Alamutu said.
But it must be stated that their sponsors, both internal and external, must also be tried because we believe they are not alone.
Violent attacks on security formations, religious organizations and schools have claimed over 10,000 lives since it launched its assault in 2001.
Yet, Alamutu warned the government against using Boko Haram's name to cover any terrorist attacks.
The resurgence of the violence puts to question the claim of success by the security forces regarding the state of emergency declared in Northeast by the government. it means a lot needs to be done, he said.
Again, the federal government must look beyond the traditional Boko Haram thing for solution to the problem because some elements bent on destroying this country may be using the name of the sect to perpetrate the violence.
Boko Haram, a Hausa term meaning "Western education is sinful", is loosely modeled on Afghanistan's Taliban.
The militant group says it is fighting enemies who have wronged its members through violence, arrests or economic neglect and corruption.
It has been blamed for a campaign of shootings and bombings against security forces and authorities in the north since 2009.
But recently, the sect has carried out attacks against Christians.
Nigeria, one of the world's most religiously committed nations, is divided between a Muslim north and a Christian south.
Muslims and Christians, who constitute 55 and 40 percent of Nigeria's 140 million population respectively, have lived in peace for the most part.
But ethnic and religious tensions have bubbled for years, fuelled by decades of resentment between indigenous groups, mostly Christian or animist, who are vying for control of fertile farmlands with migrants and settlers from the Hausa-speaking Muslim north.