It is impossible to publish the nearly 100 emails I’ve received in response to the above article. But what follows is representative of the spectrum of opinions expressed in the emails.
A very wonderful write-up you did last Saturday in Weekly Trust. You spoke exactly my mind, and many others' I believe. More grease to your elbows.
Saleh Yakubu (email@example.com)
I agree with your postulations about “ignorant, hate-filled, and hidebound religious literalists” but not with your belief in the contents of a website proven to have been created only days after the blasts and contained no other postings apart from that claiming responsibility. It is a hoax, believe me, aimed at sliming Islam. Have a wonderful Gregorian year.
Yakubu Mohammed (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I read your column titled: “Jos: Can We for Once Be Truthful?” The message advocates peace and tolerance. It emphasizes on why we as Nigerians need to see tolerance as the best solution to our religion and ethnic diversities. The two faiths—Islam and Christianity— need to see one another as serving one common God (your Qur'anic references are evidence of that). If every Nigerian believes this, no more killings.
Semiu Kunle (email@example.com)
I spent most of the day mulling the idea of writing about the situation in Jos. After reading your commentary, I decided my article would no longer be necessary. Thank you for your forthrightness. I sorely miss Lamido Sanusi because his voice of reason and his usual powerful argumentation would have greatly contributed to the dialog. Unfortunately those of us who long for a rational dialog would have to do without him for now. The patented failure of leadership as you stated will sadly lead to an avoidable escalation of this situation. To date, no one has been forced to resign because of repeated failure to protect the innocent. No premeditated attack has been botched even though it takes logistics, planning and training to execute these attacks. The rising militancy is going to consume us all.
The moment for truth telling is now but we lack leaders. I am a Christian born and raised in Kano. My first language of instruction was Arabic. I learned to call prayers in Arabic and do the ablution, etc. My teachers knew I was a Christian, the son of a Christian and they respected my family and accorded us every respect and courtesy of “people of the book.” My heart breaks for our nation and breaks even more for the lack of leadership. Thank you for adding your voice. I will go to sleep tonight feeling a little light hearted because I have discovered a like minded voice of reason on "the other side" of the religious divide in the mold of Lamido. Thank you very much. May the Almighty continue to bless you and protect you.
Emmanuel L. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Mal. Farooq I read your article on Jos bombings from your weekly column in the Weekly Trust of 1/01/2011. As you have rightly said, you speak the minds of millions of us Muslims who abhor the ideology of hate but who do not have the guts to come out openly to denounce what sects like Boko Haram are doing.
I live in Maiduguri and could you believe we do not even mention the name Boko Haram even amongst us the family members, let alone openly criticize or denounce what they are doing for the fear of being their next target of annihilation? This is because in Maiduguri, every family member is weary of the other member who might be a sympathizer or actual member of the sect because you would not know. Since after their clash with the security agents in Maiduguri in July, 2010, they went underground and do not exhibit their known identity and trade mark of wearing black turban on the head, just below the knee trouser and waist coat. Except for those who were known to one earlier, probably living in the same area, one may no longer identify them when they relocate to other parts of the town. That way they were able to strike in different parts of Maiduguri and thus instilling fear in the minds of all Maiduguri residents.
I personally believe the major culprit to blame is corruption. It is corruption that has prevented our young able-bodied youths not to have qualitative education to discern what is right from wrong. I know some lads in our area who were caught when they first came out as Talibans and bombed some police stations in both Borno and Yobe states. All of them were virtually half baked graduates actually having confused minds.
Therefore, to me, let’s fight corruption in all its ramifications and all other things will fall in their correct places.
Mohammed Kodomi (email@example.com)
I read your article and I said "WOW! A northerner!!!!” Sir, I am a northern Christian and sometimes I get confused. During 9/11 I was at the Law School. I decided to get more in touch with my northern roots (I studied at UNN) by befriending lots of my brothers form ABU, BUK and UDUS. My brother, it was a rude shock—the views some of my so-called brothers expressed with regards to 9/11.
My study at UNN also had me worried due to the fact that to most of the people I met said I was a Northerner. Some insisted on calling me Hajiya (despite my Christian name). I was confronted once by a class mate (shortly after the Miss World crisis in Kaduna). He said, “You are enjoying yourself here when your brothers are killing our people in the North.” Sir, I had the chills!!!.
Most of the people (Muslims and Christians alike) in government and elsewhere like to play the ostrich. They blame it on politics. Even back then amongst Christians in my state, they blamed IBB, then Atiku (when he was VP).
God will bless you for speaking out. He will protect you too. I will start to pray for you from today. We need people like you in the north and Nigeria who say it as it is.
Tina Hanis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I am Nigerian Muslim, a graduate of English with interest in literary criticism, critical method, and social linguistics. But, please, don’t expect a good command of English like yours, I am sorry. After reading your article on that senseless bombing in Jos, I automatically became your fan. Just like you, I learnt how to read and write in Arabic at the age of 8 in Kano. I’ve spent all my life learning religious scriptures. It’s very disappointing how we’ve left our religion in the hands of some shallow-minded scholars whose knowledge of the Book is nothing beyond the words on the paper. I can still remember how they always mobilised youths in Kano during the IBB/ABACHA eras, depicting Islam as a religion of blood and thunder, elevating their distorted Jihad beyond the five pillars of Islam. It is sad that now most of them have political appointments in the state. They dump the bunch of illiterates they’ve trained for others to exploit. Listen to their sermons. It’s the usual “Qatilul mushrikuna kaffah.”
Muktar Ahmad (email@example.com)