I find it hypocritical whenever people try to make it seem as though Shiekh Dr Isa Ali Pantami’s views more than 15 years ago was alien.
I remember having a shirt with the picture of Osama Bin Laden on it. I can’t remember who bought it for me but I know that it was one of my admirers. Osama was a role model to many people in those days.
Just yesterday too, we were discussing the same issue with some acquaintances and I mentioned Osama and his terrorist legacies, and three out of the four of them asked, “Wai dama Osama terrorist ne”?
But we all know these things today right?
All of the Muslim world held a sympathetic position towards Iraq, Afghanistan, etc and reactionist position against US’s offensive on those countries. And not only the Muslim world, even within the United States, UK and the West generally, there was a certain category of people that were totally against those offensives – former US President Barack Obama while he was a senator, Bernie Sanders and Nancy Pelosi.
Among all of them, there’s a video clip of MP Tony Benn of UK’s Labour Party speaking against the invasion of Iraq (which was virtually the beginning of all these issues). It moves me each time I remember the speech which concluded with a quote from the United Nations Charter; “WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS ARE DETERMINEDto save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our life-time has brought untold sorrow to mankind….”.
And he said at the end that this Charter “was the pledge of that generation to this generation and it will be the greatest betrayal of all if we voted to abandon the Charter and take unilateral actions and pretend we were doing it in the name of the international community.”
People like Al-Zarqawi were seen to be actively opposing the invasion (which was in breach of even the UN Charter) and as nature and emotions would have it, they got cheers from a vast segment of the Northern Nigerian people. If we weren’t old enough, our fathers or uncles or other relatives did cheer. So why single out Pantami?
I also find the call for a public retraction of his statements extremely pedestrian. What retraction is bigger and more genuine than retraction through more than a decade of proven actions against all the allegations against him today? I mean, you don’t have a single Islamic cleric alive in Nigeria that had actively fought against extremism to the extent of partaking in debates with the extremists in their own strongholds like Pantami did. Do you?
Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) reportedly said, as part of a Hadīth:
… إنما الأعمال بالخواتيم
“… verily, (the rewards of) the deeds are decided by the last actions (deeds)”.
And while commenting on this, my brother Ibrahiym A. El-Caleel posited this and I completely agree with him, he said; “This hadith is indicating that Allah will judge us by our last actions, what we end up dying upon- believers or non-believers; pious servants or sinners. The past is history, and will not be used to judge the present. This is the mercy of the Divine Lord, Who knows the social dynamics of humans. It makes pretty good sense.
Malevolence is the singular reason some people would dwell more on people’s past than present. They do this revisionism out of not being so comfortable with the reformed personalities that people have become.
C’mon! Why should I today be stuck in discussing Caliph Umar bn Khattab in Jahiliyyah period, more than his caliphate days that gave Islam one of its best moments ever? I can only do that if I want to distract people from the reformed great image of Caliph Umar bn Khattab (RA).
So, ditto Dr Isa Pantami!” Shiekh Pantami has averagely spent more than 200hours of his time actively fighting Boko Haram and other extremist tendencies. How many hours have those issuing all these biased statements spent on same task?
Pantami deserves a national honour for he is indeed one of the most ardent fighters of terrorism and extremism in this country; he is indeed a national benefactor. And he shall stay to finish his job as mandated by the Nigerian people through Mr President.
Ringim, a political and public affairs analyst, writes from Zaria, Kaduna state via [email protected]