Home Features OPINION: Religious And Political Intolerance Among The Youths in Nigeria, By Orunbon...

OPINION: Religious And Political Intolerance Among The Youths in Nigeria, By Orunbon Ademola

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Religious tolerance or intolerance arguably must have begun with an individual who subsequently influenced others to be similarly tolerant or intolerant, thereby forming a religiously tolerant or intolerant group. From then on, group might have influenced, inspired, convinced or coerced other individuals to be either tolerant or intolerant of others, their thinking and behaviour. In this manner, religious tolerance or intolerance came to be perpetuated; groups or communities influencing individuals to be (come) tolerant or intolerant, conversely, individuals creating groups or communities characterized by attitudes of religious tolerance or intolerance.

We today realize that religious tolerance or intolerance flow from individuals’ perceptions, thoughts and attitude, from their ‘self-talk’. It is therefore easier to understand religious tolerance and intolerance from an individual and personal perspective than from a group perspective. Recent incidences associated with religious intolerance in many parts of the country demand that we gain an understanding of what religious tolerance and intolerance actually all about in life and also in religious perspectives.

The word person denotes an individual human being and is derived from Latin persona, meaning a mask. According to Simpon (168:442), persona originality referred to the mask worn by actors in Greek and Roman drama, particularly to the role, part, character or person played in the drama. It later acquired the figurative meaning of the part or role that someone plays in life (e.g. as a tolerant or intolerant individual), and later on to also to also mean an individual’s personality, individuality and character.

The word personality was later used to refer to the sum total of all the behavioural and mental characteristics on the grounds of which a person is recognized as unique; also in terms of how the person displays tolerance or intolerance of others who are religiously different. personality refers to distinctive character of a person that makes him or her socially attractive or unattractive (Sinclair 1999:1104), also in terms of being religiously tolerant or intolerant.

This is the pointer to the above analysis where Akingbade Mobolaji, an indigene of Owo, Ondo state, narrated how his biological father vandalized his property, and unleashed terrors towards him and his immediate family as a result of his decision to give his life to Jesus Christ at a special thanksgiving service to commemorate the persecuted week of the Ileri Oluwa Parish of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Organization Worldwide Alagbaka, Akure, Ondo State, he was shedding tears while he said that “God has made it possible for him to become a cornerstone after the deprivation and rejection he suffered after converting to Christianity.”

The question is this, is there anything wrong in converting from Muslim to Christian? but for Mobolaji he nearly sacrifice his life for this, though, he came from a family with rich Islamic background, his father’s name is Alhaji Tomasi Akingbade and he is popular Islamic Scholar and the Imam of Ileri Mosque in Owo, Ondo State. While growing up, Mobolaji followed the tenets of Islam just like his other siblings. The graduate of Economics was one of the “Ajanasi” congregational prayer leaders of the mosque and the heir apparent assigned to take over from his father as the Imam of Ileri Mosque to be in the nearest future.

“But, his life took a dramatic dimension in 2006 when he decided to join Christian, converted from Islam to Christian against the wish of his father. And his father learnt about his decision to follow Christ, he was infuriated, nervous and burnt everything Mobolaji had. Indeed, he suffered so much because of the name of Jesus and would have been nothing if not for His grace,” According to him.

When he was narrating how he became a Christian, Mobolaji said, his conversion was not planned as people would have expected, but it was dramatic and divine called. He said, it was in 2006, when he was invited to a crusade by one of his friend whom he had discussed religion with, in the past, though, he said his intention was to listen to the preacher with the hope of using his teachings to convert his friends to Islam. But what Mobolaji experienced at the crusade ground changed the course of his life permanently.

He noted that rather than sit inside the crusade auditorium, he sat on the trunk of his car with his writing pad. But, he said in the middle of that preaching however, something dramatic happened to him. He said the Pastor was preaching about the arrest, crucification, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, when he heard this, he said that a passage from the Quran came to his mind-specifically Surah 19:33, that is Quran !9 v 33. In that passage, Jesus (who is considered a prophet in Islam declared; “peace be upon me the day I was born and the day I will die, and the day I will be raised up alive.”). He said that his preaching was confirming for him what is in the Quran but the Pastor was preaching from the Bible, saying that the things he was preaching, these things are written in the Quran too. But the Muslims are translating it the other way round.

He said for instance, the Quran said that the day Jesus was arrested, Allah took the image of Jesus and put the image of Jesus on the face of an innocent Jew, he continued that the Jew was arrested and crucified instead of Jesus and Allah took Jesus alive to Heaven. Mobolaji added that he thought it was weird that God would need to deceive His own people in order to save His prophet and messengers. Mobolaji said he was asking himself question that; the man made an alter call after he prayed for a deaf and dumb girl. He prayed for those who were sick, while Mobolaji said, before his eyes, he saw a deaf boy and dumb girl, that girl was dumb but spoke. The boy that was deaf heard. He said he was celebrating with them that this is a miracle. He said he know quite alright that in the Quran, Jesus performed miracles, and this is something that we don’t go about preaching, and Muslim don’t go about preaching it at all.

With ordeals of the young man from Ondo state in converting from Muslim background to Christian indicated that we need to tolerate one another in accepting the religion of our choice without any inducement, frustration and attacking ourselves on the basis of religious difference, indeed, nobody cannot fight for the will of God almighty but we need to remain and practice the religious of one choice, though, the man was attacked, maim, frustrated and banished from his hometown. Frankly speaking, it is high time we stopped all these religious and political violence in the country, being belief in different religion and political associate does not means one should not be together, do things together.

Youths in the country should always rebreed the sons of whom they are while fighting in the course of religion or political, as those who we are fighting for does not fit dying for, especially politicians of our generation, God allow us to practice the religious of our choice and order us not to fight one another in His name, what else do we expect from God almighty, for banishing the young man, sending assailants after him to main or kill him was an effort in futility, and moreover, our parents or guidance need to be implored to allow their wards/children, especially who are of age to practice any religion of their choice and never to impose their beliefs on them or deprive them from their rights due to societal pressure.

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