The Secretary-General of the Consultative Council of the Anglican Communion Worldwide and former Archbishop of the Anglican Communion (Kaduna Province), Most Reverend Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has hinted that the killings in the country by Boko Haram terrorists have nothing to do with Islam.
He stated that he has never justified violence but that the Quran does not support it despite that the killings had always been attributed to Islam.
In an interview with the Punch, the Most Reverend said there is no difference in ethics and values between Christians and Muslims and called on any critic to challenge him over his stand that there is not any difference between Christianity and Islam.
“You talked about violence. In the Quran, you are told; there is no compulsion in religion. It is there. The Quran does not allow you enforce your religion on anybody. It is not allowed; it is clearly stated.
“The Quran makes it clear that we are different. You have your religion; I have my religion; to you your religion; to me, my religion. So, it is a question of interpretation.
“I am not justifying any violence – my Muslim brothers know that I am totally against anything like Boko Haram or Muslim vandals going to kill people and destroy their property. That is not the teaching of Quran. They cannot justify it; just as I as a Christian cannot justify the killing of Muslims in Central Africa today. That is my area. I cover Africa. I am the Chair for the Programme of Muslim-Christian Relations in Africa. I am telling you what is happening. You cannot justify it. So, the bottom line: we need to go back to obeying what we have in our scriptures.
He went further to state that Nigerian does not need a Muslim or Christian ruler as voting should not be based on religion.
He said, “I want to make this point clear: we have allowed ourselves to be cheated in this country on the basis of religion.
“Nigeria does not need a Christian president or governor. I don’t need a Christian pressman. I don’t need a Muslim president. What we need is a president who is a Christian or Muslim. There is a difference. The difference is that you don’t vote for me because I am Christian. You elect me because I am a Nigerian who wants to follow the way of Christ or I am Nigerian wanting to follow what is written in the Quran.
“People try to bring division on the basis of religion. My job is to let Christians and Muslims know that when it comes to values and ethics (I call on any Christian or Muslim to challenge me); there is no difference. As far as moral values are concerned, we teach exactly the same things. What you have in the teachings of Quran and Hadith on moral values are exactly the same teachings you have in the Bible – how you should be fair; how you should be just; how you should respect people; how you should fear God and know that eventually you are accountable to God; it is all there.
“The place where we differ (because Islam and Christianity are not the same) is in terms of doctrine. Principally, we say Jesus Christ is God. Muslims say Jesus is a prophet. They don’t say Jesus Christ. The Christ aspect is not in the Quran.
“As far as I am concerned; as far as I am a believer; that is not a reason for me not to see that what I talk about in terms of ethics and morals you have in the Quran are not the same. I know it is controversial but my commitment to keeping this country together is unwavering.
“The problem we have in this country is division and discrimination in religion. You are a Christian; I am a Christian. The Bible says; love your neighbour as yourself. Who is my neighbour? My neighbour from Christ’s point of view (not from Christian point of view) is described in the parable of the Good Samaritan. In other words, anybody who is in need is your neighbour.
“Let me tell you that you have the same teaching in Islam. There is what is called Hadith in Islam. Hadith is made up of the sayings and practices of Prophet Mohammed,” he added.