The Central Mosque of the University of Ibadan (UI) was the setting for an unjustified religious provocation on Friday, August 13, 2010. In the middle of the Friday Jumat Service, a shrill cry broke out from the women part of the congregation, with a voice crying repent, believe in Jesus Christ and don’t die as a Moslem. This was at the most solemn part of the service, the Salat, when Moslems bow in submission to Allah. The outcome, you can guess, was certainly not a Halleluiah!
From what I gathered on Friday, when I visited the Mosque, it was claimed that a Christian lady – who obviously thought she had received a mission to convert Moslems – sneaked into the Mosque, disguised in a hijab. She made her way effortlessly inside, this 400 level law student, waited patiently like a hunter eyeing a game. If not for her cry for conversion, she would have passed unnoticed.
The pandemonium that this proselytising Christian generated in UI Central Mosque was of such proportions that it precipitated a near earthquake. The instant reaction of the worshipers was to crush the intruder who dared to desecrate their holy ground and disrupt their prayer. Naturally, one would have anticipated that this Pentecostal Crusading Christian lady would be lynched. However, the opposite was the case.
From my investigations, a Moslem woman grabbed our Christian Warrior and skilfully shoved her out of harm’s way. Also the majority of the congregation – professors, lecturers, students and other officers of the university – immediately called for restrain. Their intervention saved what would have been another religious war. I was reliably informed that the Vice Chancellor, Professor Olufemi Bamiro, immediately rushed down to the Mosque to settle the rustled nerves.
While the single story that has dominated the media, has always been about Islam being perceived as a synonym for terrorism. Can anyone in his right senses explain this unholy provocation? What in heaven’s name, was this ‘learned’ student doing in a Mosque? And why would any sane person be so deluded to infer that the best way to convert others is by such unwarranted needling? If the UI Moslems had gone ahead with their quite justified anger, sending our prophesising messiah to her ancestors, the Western media would have ignorantly concluded that genocide of Christians have started in Nigeria.
Religious conflicts have plagued this nation from time immemorial. Some of us are convinced that some people have it as their stock in trade to ferment trouble. As such, if the anticipated action and reaction of this itinerary preacher had succeeded, perhaps by now, another bloodbath would have opened the pipe of senseless butchering.
Currently (Monday, August 16; 10.30 am), the gates of the university are barred. Neither vehicular nor human traffic is allowed in or out of the campus. And the Moslems protesting and demanding justice. Regrettably, all this was precipitated by the folly of religious fanaticism by a martyrdom seeking evangelist. Conversion is a personal decision that is intiated, executed and completed with full freedom. The tyranny of force cannot be used in convincing people to change their religious persuasion. Nothing can justify this inane affront!