Sultan Of Sokoto Defends Meeting With Outlawed Islamic Extremist

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The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar on Thursday said Muslim have the right to invite their fellow brother for interaction.

The cleric was invited by the monarch to attend the 10th Sheikh Usman bin Fordiyo week which ended on Thursday.

Zakir Naik was born and raised in India, where he finished his education and founded the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). The IRF is now banned in India, where Naik has been a wanted fugitive since 2016.

The Indian counterterrorism agency charged him for inciting religious hate and other illegal actions, forcing him to flee and seek asylum in Malaysia. However, after three years of being sheltered in Malaysia, the authorities barred him from delivering speeches in the country. He had reportedly made derogatory remarks against the country’s ethnic Hindus and Chinese during a lecture, prompting public calls for his deportation.

India, Bangladesh, Canada and the United Kingdom have all outlawed Peace TV, a broadcast station that airs his teachings.

Responding to the critics of the cleric’s visit to Nigeria, the monarch said, “Islam is one every where you go. As a Muslim, we have the right to invite fellow Muslim to interact with us. I met Dr Zakir Naik over 11 years ago.

“Sokoto is happy to receive you. We are Muslims and we are proud to be one. We are working for Islam not for everybody.

“We are Muslim by Allah divine will and nobody will change that. We thank Almighty Allah for making us Muslims,” he said during the closing ceremony held at the International Conference Centre, Sokoto.”

The Sultan said the visiting scholar was able to educate Muslims and non-Muslims on what Islam is all about.

Also speaking at the ceremony, the former Minister of Defence, Mahmoud Yayale Ahmed, reaffirmed the loyalty of the millions of Muslims in the country to the monarch.

“We are behind you in all that you are doing to promote Islam and Foster peace and unity in the country,” he said

The Governor of Sokoto state, Ahmed Aliyu who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Bello Sifawa stressed the important of knowledge in human and societal development.

“This is why the present administration makes repositioning and revitalizing religious knowledge one of its 9-point agenda,” he said

Governor of Kebbi state, Muhammad Nasir Idris, assured the Sultan of their continuous support.

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