26th October, 2019





An Islamic human rights group has denied that torture centers recently discovered in some states of Nigeria are Islamiyyah schools. The denial was contained in a statement issued by Professor Ishaq Akintola on behalf of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) on Saturday, 26th October, 2019.


“Those torture centers are not Islamiyyah schools. The only thing going on in Islamiyyah schools all over the country is teaching and learning of Islamic subjects, particularly Qur’an and hadith. Our mallams love their students. Our mallams are mentors and responsible people.


“For the avoidance of doubts, we strongly condemn what is going on in the torture chambers and we dissociate Islamiyyah schools from them. It is horrible, inhuman and barbaric. But the fact remains that those places are not Islamiyyah schools. They are rehabilitation centres. A clear distinction exists between Islamiyyah schools and reform centres. This would have been clear enough if efforts had been made to visit Islamiyyah schools after which comparisons can be made.


“The inmates were brought there by their parents after noticing their weird and bohemian behaviour. They are victims of drug addiction whose anti-social demeanours made their parents to seek solutions to their drug addiction. The fact that parents came out to protest against the police action in the centers further cements our position. The parents even demanded immediate return of their children and wards to those centres.


“We reject the methods used to reform drug addicts in those centres. They are too crude and too inhuman. Chaining and severe flogging are unacceptable correctional methods. Those styles are sadistic. They are the height of man’s inhumanity to man. But there is no scintilla of doubt that they stand in contradistinction to well-known and acceptable teaching methodology in Islamiyyah schools.”


MURIC blamed the mistaken identity on Islamophobia.


“Calling those torture chambers Islamiyyah schools is simply another Islam-bashing. Some people are always eager to associate evil and negative things with Islam. It is like giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it. Islamophobics are behind the negative publicity and the aim is to kill the Islamiyyah schools and demonise the learning of Arabic and Islamic studies.


“The propaganda was well coordinated. All Western media platforms were on our necks within minutes of the discovery. The feverishness was astounding. Yet their paradoxically lackadaisical attitude to the Kano 9 incident (in which nine Muslim children were kidnapped, converted to Christianity and sold into slavery) around the same time is shocking. It exposes the double standard which is a major characteristic of Islamophobia.


“The aim is to paint Islamiyyah schools in the colour of Shaytan (Satan) and to make the general public hate mallams and Imams. It is also intended to scare children from learning Arabic and Islamic studies. This disgraceful plot was hatched by highly-placed Muslim-haters and it is of great antiquity. The removal of Arabic ajami from the naira under ex-President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was part of the plot.


“But they have failed just like Almighty Allah promised, ‘Their intention is to extinguish Allah’s Light with their mouths ( i. e. with their false propaganda against Islam) but Allah will complete his Light even though the unbelievers may not like it’ (Glorious Qur’an 61:8).


“Contrary to their campaign of hate and fake news, Islamiyyah schools remain institutions of spiritual and moral elevation. They may be poorly financed. Our mallams and Imams may not be wealthy. They may parade no private jets but they are rich in mind, wealthy in soul and noble in character. What is paramount to them is taqwah (fear of Allah). The Glorious Qur’an says, “…The best among you before Allah is the most pious’ (Qur’an 49:13).


“This verse summarises the whole philosophy of nobility and greatness in Islam. It de-emphasises material wealth. Allah does not look at your money and your worldly possessions. He looks at your heart. Islam holds that material wealth alone is not the only parameter for measuring greatness. Our mallams, alfas and Imams may not have money, they have contentment. They value their names above silver and gold. That is why we are proud of our mallams, alfas and Imams and we will not stand akimbo while merchants of hate try to rubbish them.”


The Islamic human rights organization insisted that Islam does not support torture.


“Islam is a humanistic faith. Torture is taboo in Islam. As a Muslim, you must not even torture an animal not to talk of doing such a wicked thing to fellow homo sapiens compos mentis. Allah commands Muslims to ‘Cooperate in performing righteous deeds and not in committing sin and aggression’ (Qur’an 5:2). An hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reveals how those who torture animals may be denied al-Jannah (paradise). A prostitute was even promised al-Jannah because she gave water to a thirsty animal which was about to die.


“Another hadith quotes the Prophet as saying, ‘Be kind to those on earth so that those in heaven may be kind to you’. Muslims are taught to remove harmful things from peoples’ path in order to earn a reward in heaven. Can such a religion approve torture? Islam is love, not animousity. Islam teaches kindness, not cruelty. It promotes humanistic propensities, not animalistic tendencies. Islam gives life, not death. It is light, not darkness. Islam stands for knowledge, not ignorance.”


MURIC held state governments responsible for failing to stem the tide.


“We blame the state governments for failing to stem the tide of drug addiction and for not providing enough correctional facilities. This failure created a lacuna which the organisers of those crude rehabilitation centres exploited. Drug addiction has long been rampant in all parts of the country. The youth are hooked on cocaine, heroin, marijuana, gum and even toilet-sniffing! It is horrendous. But the state governments pretended not to see anything wrong.”


Akintola suggested panacea to the proliferation of torture chambers around the country.


“We are alarmed at the proliferation of torture centers around the country. But people should not be beheaded just because they have ordinary headache.  Instead of punitive measures, therefore, we suggest that the state governments where torture centres were found should integrate the owners of the centres into the state’s rehabilitation programme particularly for training. They can tap into their various experiences. More correctional centres should also be built by state governments.


“As we rise from this session, we reiterate that those torture centers are not Islamiyyah schools. We affirm clearly, emphatically and categorically that Islamiyyah schools do not put pupils in chains. The horror centres are crude correctional facilities which state governments can upgrade while the owners of the centres can be trained and integrated into official rehabilitation centers.”


Professor Ishaq Akintola,


Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)





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