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Kwara Born Islamic Scholar, Blasts Soyinka Over Comment On Emir Of Ilorin

Islamic Scholar Wole Soyinka


Kwara Born Islamic Scholar, Blasts Soyinka Over Comment On Emir Of Ilorin

An atheist does not have an inherent right to discuss religious tolerance.

Wole Soyinka, a Nigerian playwright and Nobel laureate, wrote an open letter to the Emir of Ilorin over the cancellation of the Isese festival proposed by an Osun priestess, Omolara Olatunji, popularly known as Yeye Ajesikemi.

Speaking during an interview with Afrika Eyes, Imam Ismail Dare Olawuwo, said one of the factors contributing to the peaceful coexistence in Ilorin is the strong influence of Islamic teachings, which emphasize peace, unity, and respect for others.

According to him, the people of Ilorin, regardless of their religious affiliations, have imbibed these values, leading to a peaceful and harmonious society.

Ilorin is a city that has a long history of promoting social integration and peaceful coexistence.

The cleric, while reacting to the open letter written by Prof Soyinka, said the Nobel laureate who is an atheist does not have an inherent right to discuss religious tolerance.

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“Emir of Ilorin, Dr Ibrahim Sulu Gambari is the custodian of this city and the protector. Therefore, he has the moral right to send people to the acclaimed Osun priestess to cancel the event over the Isese festival that she plans to celebrate.

Religious tolerance is a fundamental principle that promotes peaceful coexistence and respect for diverse beliefs. No one said that Iya Osun should not practice her religion but she has known that where one right ends, another one right begins. She can worship anything she wants in her house but not outside, as the community is owned by the emirate.

Barrister Olawuwo said Soyinka as an elder statesman needs to approach discussions on religious tolerance with sensitivity, respect, and an understanding of the diverse perspectives and experiences of different religious communities.

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He recalled on how masquerade worshippers stormed a mosque in Osun state and caused harm to people, even killing an old man.

He said Soyinka has never condemned such barbaric and intolerant behaviour from the masquerade worshippers.

He stated that emirs are the chosen representatives of God on earth, and it is forbidden for anyone to speak ill of them.

Barrister Olawuwo clarified that the Muslim group’s actions were within the boundaries of the constitution. They went to the isese woman’s house with the intention of peacefully advising her against participating in the isese festival.

He further explained that the decision of the isese woman to suspend the festival as advised by the Muslim group showcases a maturity and a commitment to dialogue.

“By respecting the concerns of others, they are taking steps towards diffusing tensions and promoting peaceful coexistence. This act exemplifies the significance of mutual understanding and compromise in resolving conflicts and nurturing social harmony. It sets a positive example for fostering interreligious and intercultural understanding in the community.

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“Professor Wole Soyinka, despite not being affiliated with any particular religion, perceives this incident as a possible threat.

He maintains the belief that it is improper for someone of his age and reputation to insult the emir, deeming it disrespectful.

“As an influential figure and respected elder, Professor Wole Soyinka has the ability to play a crucial role in promoting peace and harmony. instead of potentially aggravating tensions, his actions could ignite a fire on already dry grasses, further escalating the situation.

“He should use his position to foster dialogue, understanding, and reconciliation, thereby preventing any further escalation of the situation,” Olawuwo added.

Buhari Olanrewaju Ahmed, a seasoned investigative journalist and climate/environmental reporter with a decade of experience, unravels complex issues and amplifies critical voices. His in-depth investigative work and insightful reporting have earned him recognition as a trusted source of information. Ahmed's unwavering commitment to journalism and exceptional storytelling prowess make him a standout figure in investigative journalism. His work drives meaningful conversations, influences policy decisions, and inspires collective efforts toward a sustainable future.

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