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A Pan-African Conversation Between A Nigerian Christian and Muslim
By: Ehimwenma E. Aimiuwu & Fadlulai
March 22, 2009

 

 

This Conversation on Pan-Africanism began after Nigeriaworld published one of my articles last week, which was titled "The Secret between Nigeria and Muammar Gadhafi".  Many non-Muslims supported the argument in the article, but many Muslims had very strong oppositions to it.  One of the opposing Muslims to the article was Fadlulai, and he challenged my position on Islam and my contradictions about Pan-Africanism.  At the end of our conversation, I believe that there was genuine brotherhood and love for our nation, people, and continent.  Please read and enjoy a nation building conversation between two brothers:  

The only part worth reading in your article is the first two paragraphs. Just like many Africans with shaved faces, with suit and tie on, you will go a long way licking your colonialists' soles (while still calling yourself a "pan-africanist"). Your problem is not with Ghadaffi- it is with Islam. Your article reflects complete ignorance in trying to attribute Islam with Arabism. Less than 18% of Muslims live in Arab countries. Islam has always been a religion that doesn't recognize race nor nationality- and that facilitated it's quick spread.  

You tend to insult African Muslims by referring to them as "Islamic African Slaves". Probably, you will be the one to tell who the slave is- the one who is forced to write an article in a language that is not his, or the one who conquers land and exerts his rule on it. Slavery in Islam is not what you think of it. It is not the kind that restricts the aspirations of the slave. So-called slaves become kings, generals, scholars. Thank God in your article you accepted how much power so-called slaves wielded in Africa. 

 

And stop referring to yourself as a "Nigerian Pan-Africanist". It makes you sound like a clown. You are a just Christian fanatic "giving lectures in churches" in the US. You don't sound better than those cowardly psychopaths on Nigeriaworld, running their mouths and refusing to act to change our current conditions. Besides, how can you be a Christian and a pan-african at the same time? Where did you put your traditional religion? When I followed the site that you directed the readers to click, I saw your picture on the front cover of a book, dressed like a "real" Nigerian Pan-Africanist.   I was expecting to see a man in West African attire, with inscriptions in his native tongue. And you shouldn't call yourself a Nigerian, because truly, Nigeria, just like many other countries in the world, does not exist. These boundries were drawn on paper by drunken Europeans when they were trying to divide us into colonies. Sometimes you notice straight lines as in the maps of most countries in Northern Africa. So stop calling yourself a Nigerian, or you expose how much enslaved your mind is while trying to denounce colonialism.   

Stop living a world of deceit and hatred, and embrace Gadhafi's efforts to bring Africa together. Libya is Africa's most respected country with the highest standard of living. It has nothing to lose. It is not that it wants to exploit the rest of Africa as the West does. So why should we reject a helping hand just because of he doesn't share the same religion with us, while millions of Africans are starving to death.  

Lastly, I'll advice you to do a little bit of research about Islam. Islam has done much to contribute to your welfare than you thought. First, read about the fundamentals of Islam, and then read about the Islamic Golden Age. 

There is only one race, and that is the human race. So you are free to dump your Pan-African fantasies into the dustbin now. 

Fadlulai 

*****************

Thanks for reading my article.  I am naturally not hairy and I dislike hair.  This is why I shave and it makes me look clean.  As an African who began the world and all cultures, I wear whatever I choose.  I may put on a suit and tie to look marketable to the American public, but I can assure you that many Europeans would not like my views either in the book.  Yes, majority of the Muslims are non-Arabs, but were they colonized with love or with the fear of the sword before it became their way of life?    

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English is a universal language now so I use it to reach more audience.  Are African Muslims conquering Africa to improve it or to spread Arabic law on Africans?  If the former, why must you conquer something to make it better?  You said that in Islam slaves can become Kings.  I guess that is true of the Emir of Bauchi who was arrested and unrecognized when he got to Mecca. 

A Pan_Africanist can be anything.  It only requires that you put African interest before anything such as Islam and Christianity.  I am a Christian because I see Jesus as the son of God and that the Biblical characters are all of African descent.  I do not follow Olokun because I do not believe in a water goddess or its numerous sacrifices, but I still honor the Igue festival and other Edo traditional events.  There are many ways to change your country and I have chosen to write to enlighten and motivate the people.  I hope this is not a crime by your standard.  I have written an article that we should change the name of Nigeria because it is a curse, but Nigeriaworld refused to post it because it was like an insult to the country at large (see Edofolks under Nigeria).   

Are you an Arab or Nigerian?  If the later, why is your name Arabic, how do you define your nationality, and what is your native tongue?  What can Gadhafi do for the Blacks in Libya and Darfur and what has Islam done for me as a Southern Nigerian?  I will not read your books on Islam until you answer my questions above and tell me what Islam has done for you assuming that you are African?  God bless you. 

Ehi 

************ 

Hello, 

Nobody tells you not to keep your hair nor put on suit. I was only trying to tell you that true decolonization of the mind takes a lot of forms- which may include having to boycott things that are peculiar to the colonizers, even if, sometimes, they are harmless. I am not sure if Africans began the world, it is certainly clear they didn't begin all cultures. I won't be surprised if your response to this reply asserts that Africans taught Japanese people how to prepare Sushi! Your looks speak volumes about you. They influence far more than words do. Seeing your dedication to your Pan-African cause, one would expect you to be so immersed in African culture that any other meal apart from pounded yam would be rejected by you! Finding you smiling in a western suit is disappointing to a normal African mind, and reveals that you are no more than someone trying hard to forge a psychological relief in between the "corporateness" of the Whiteman and longing for a backward Africa.     I think Europeans will be indifferent to your book rather than disliking it, because they understand the psychology of writers like you. It is just another Blackman who, after breaking the chains in his hands, is still chained in his brain. To them, it's just another angry Blackman. They have read many of such books, and they will still read many.  

First, don't use the word "colonize" when you are talking about Islam. In fact, such words are never used in history to describe Islam's conquests. This represents an attempt to distort Islam's history by comparing them to the devils that introduced Christianity to Africa. And clear off your head the fairy tale of a man in turban holding a sword and Qur'an on a galloping horse to forcefully spread Islam. It is a myth that has been continuously rejected in history even by Western historians. Islam was very tolerant and never forced conversions. Christians and Jews were (and are still) referred to as "People of the Book" and they were free to practice their religion. In fact, many Jews had to migrate to Islamic lands in escape from persecutions from Christians.  Once again, this shows that you are unenlightened about a lot of things concerning Islam and that you are a victim of misinformation. Besides how could an ideology forced on you become your way of life for such a long time. Such ideologies are bound to collapse as soon as the forcing power collapses. The Islamic empire collapsed many centuries ago. One can't help but to wonder how Islam still survived in many nations, even after been through many decades of colonization by Christian West. No, Islam wasn't forced. It was learnt, understood, absorbed by people and it became rooted in their hearts- and that is how it became their way of life.  

Before English language became the language you referred to as 'universal', it was just a far less popular derivative from various dialects. Why can't you force people to reckon with you by writing in your language? Many African writers have embarked on this- Ngugi wa Thiogo has made me realize that a language called Kikuyu exists. In fact, any step that you take towards decolonizing yourself is ineffective until you learn to develop your mind in your own way by developing your mother tongue. 

It is true African Muslims conquer lands in other to introduce Shari'ah (Islamic legal system). And what is bad about that if Muslim nations are the most peaceful and the most prosperous? Or which sub-saharan country can rival any those Northern African countries in anything good? Coincidentally, I happened to chat with a female friend of mine from Eastern Nigeria today. Her father is an elder in the Catholic Church. She told me her father has lived in a Northern Nigerian state for more than 20 years. When she mentioned that, I was visibly startled. Then, I asked her how he could have survived living in such a strictly Islamic environment. You guess what her answer was?! She replied- "Hausas are the most peaceful people in Nigeria!" Thanks to the jihad of Uthman dan Fodio, my friend's father is assured of his safety far more than he would have if he was living in the East.  

Most people living in a place to be conquered by Islam would have welcomed it. But the rulers are too greedy to want what is good for their people. Logically, I see no problem in deposing just a man to save millions of people. I again implore you to read about Islam and its Golden Period again. You'll see how, after Islam, people were transformed from nothing to the most sought after in the world, and existing civilizations in conquered lands were developed.  

About the arrested Emir of Bauchi- honestly I have searched the internet to confirm that. When I googled it, the only site that was relevant to my search was yours. I found it in an article (which seems to be a beautiful one) "Are Nigerians worshippers of the Devil?" Let’s assume it is true he was arrested, that should reflect justice and non-preferential treatment of visitors rather than embarrassment. Some people use their influence to smuggle drugs in. No nonsense must be tolerated in Islam's holiest city. Everybody MUST (according to the standards of Islam) be treated equally. In fact, the same treatment would have been accorded the King of Jordan if he was suspected of any crime. You used the word "unrecognized"- probably because of the uniformity of dressing of Muslim pilgrims in simple white towels. Everybody looks the same. This is also to drive home my point of equality in Islam regardless of your status in the society. It would have been really pathetic for the king to come for hajj in his regalia. 

I say a Pan-Africanist can't be anything. Especially, it is difficult to be a Christian and a Pan-Africanist at the same time. The colonizers noticed that Christianity, when introduced to their to captives, tended to pacify them and that reduced the chances of their resistance and escape. Teachings like "when you are slapped, turn the other cheek" is a good one to begin with. That is why they brought along with them missionaries to hatch part of their evil plan. You should know the first secondary school in Nigeria is a missionary school. Why not a Unity School to unify different tribes of Nigeria? Unity was what Nigeria needed most. Why not Unity? Why missionary? It is because their aim was to spread this paralyzing disease to deprive us of our consciousness. I could see you are trying to attribute biblical characters to Africa. I don't blame you for this. It is so difficult for someone like you, who has probably suffered discrimination and cruelty from whites (who are largely Christian), to attribute whiteness to the people of God. Our history is full of their brutality- from slavery to rape, from colonization to torture. Blacks born in America are probably going through a more devastating trauma. It is so difficult for them to identify with white Christians that they have to create their own separate churches. Today, there are numerous Black Churches in America which Blacks prefer to attend. Christianity has always been and is still a racist religion. Even if you still want to remain a Christian not regarding the atrocities committed by the ones who introduced it, how much of Jesus' teachings are contained in today's Bible? I am so sure if I wasn't a Muslim, then I wouldn't, in any way, have been a Christian. We all know how a quest for the solution to racism led Malcolm X to becoming a Muslim. 

Now seeing you are more sincere than I thought, I applaud your efforts. You shouldn't only strive to make propositions to solve problems; you should also make efforts in realizing them. People like you are needed in the country, not outside it. There are too many articles to be read on Nigeriaworld. One barely has the time to read all, or at least, select the few best and read.  

I am a Nigerian. I am from Oyo State and my native tongue is Yoruba. I'd rather say my name is Islamic pronounced in Arabic. Before the advent of Islam, people rarely bore such names. Arabic is the official language of Islam. This is very essential in our religion because it has enhanced unity to a great level. I study in Russia with students from many different countries of the world. Many of these students don't speak English. I encounter little or no problem worshipping with Muslims among them, even on our first meeting. This is because the language we use during worshipping is Arabic and we excellently understand one another. We also don't greet one another with the widely used greetings; rather we say 'salam alaykum', thereby giving a sense of brotherly connection which is fostered by Islam. Besides, I don't have any problem bearing a name from any country so far as the name is meaningful and the country doesn't have a history of brutality against Africans.  

You asked about my nationality- I would say I have none. I would respond to this by quoting a famous Muslim-"I am Salman, the son of Islam from the children of Adam". All Muslims are my brothers, and all human beings are my relatives. Muslims don't recognize boundaries of nations. We understand that God chose to create us into races and tribes to make recognition of one another easier and not for disunity. 

I can see where you are making a mistake- you can't distinguish between Arabism and Islam. Islam is explicitly against racism. The idea of equality of human beings is continuously found in the Qur'an and the Hadith. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) unequivocally said in his Last Sermon- "An Arab is not greater than a non-Arab, a non-Arab is not greater than an Arab. The most revered in the front of Allah is the most pious of you..." The first Muezzin in Islam was of dark skin. His name was Bilal ibn Rabiah. Another was the Prophet's adopted son, Zaid ibn Haritha. During his Caliphate, ‘Umar (the second caliph after Muhammad) paid a higher salary to Usama (Zaid's son. Zaid already died in a previous battle) than to his own son, ‘Abd Allah, who asked why. ‘Umar answered: "My son, I do so, because I know well that God’s Messenger loved Usama’s father more than yours and Usama himself more than you". The message of Islam was conveyed clearly to us by the Prophet. Is it Islam's fault that it's message is rejected by a group of people?! Many of these Arabs are not practising Muslims. I live with them here. I am like a source of envy to many of them. So do you choose to judge Islam from these people's manners? I read in one of your articles about how a Moroccan girl, with whom you were "rocking it", asked you whether you are from the North or South of Nigeria. Islam completely forbids free mingling between females and males.  These people, definitely, won't be the ones to ask questions about Islam. I suspected this in your article in Nigeriaworld. That was why I implored you to read about Islam in its pure form from the Qur'an and the Hadith. 

Gadhafi has done a lot for Africa. He has sought to bring Africa together more than any existing African leader. When one expected him to crumble and his credibility damaged as a result of strict sanctions imposed by US on Libya, his dedication to the betterment of his people and humanity prevailed. Nelson Mandela realized his honesty and commitment and was the only African Leader to travel to Libya despite the sanctions, daring them to shoot his plane down. Gadhafi has been tested on a lot of fronts, and he never failed. I am so sure he won't fail this time. The last thing the West want is African Unity. Let us wait and see what Gadhafi is up too. You are the one that said a Pan-Africanist could be anything so far as he puts the interest of Africa before him first- and that is what exactly I want you to take Gadhafi for. There is no need for you to be scared. Arabs are too weak and divided to be of threat to anyone now.    

I am not against repatriation of illegal immigrants, if that is what you mean by asking about the treatment of Blacks in Libya. I see only see this as helping the immigrant to respect himself. Concerning conflicts in Africa, I believe Ghadaffi is more qualified to solve them than any other person in Africa. He was a leader of a revolution and understands the basis of conflicts, and has been a leader long enough to know how to stem them. 

You are asking what Islam has done for you as a Southern Nigerian?! You should first ask what Islam has done for you as a human being? Any time you hold your spectacles, remember Ibn Haytham, without whose works we wouldn't have understood optics today. Anytime a doctor checks your pulse, remember Ibn Sina, Ibn Nafis and the rest, without the contributions of whom we can't live healthy lives today. There are hundreds of thousands of these people, and that is why you have to read about them. 

For Islam to make very significant positive changes to you, you'll have to accept it. I've accepted Islam and I am grateful to God for this. I don't know how I would have survived without Islam. It is like imagining not breathing. 

May God be with you. 

Fadlulai 

*********************** 

Brother, 

I thank you for your response.  I really loved and enjoyed reading your e-mail.  I am happy to know that you are a Nigerian Muslim and you cherish your Islam.  I have no problem with Islam.  I was even at a Muslim wedding yesterday and talked to many Yoruba Muslims all night about life in general.  My question to you as a Nigerian Muslim is why is the Islamic leadership (born to rule) not ruling to make Nigeria a real power house in Africa?  It seems that they are more interested in giving themselves (not even the most qualified) power and spreading Islam. 

I am a Pan-Africanist because I put Africa first.  I will dress like the people I live with even in Mecca.  It helps to bring us together and ease tension.  I wore a suit because I am in the USA and I want my book to reach more people.  If I was targeting only Africans, it would have been all African attire.  Africans tend not to support each other anyway, and there is nothing wrong with getting your ideas to non-Africans as well.  My mind is so free that not many Europeans like me by just looking at me.  I do not act gay, submissive, or too friendly because I want a job or money.   There is nothing they hate more than a confident Black man.   

Arabs did wage war against Africans and killed many Africans.  Once you have dominated a people for centuries and they have lived under your laws for generations, it becomes their way of life.  The Ottoman Empire just fell in the early 1900s, so Islamic dominance was still very much around.  When you conquer a people against their will and enforce your ways on them for a long time, it is called colonization.  The west could not change the Islamic colonies completely because Islam fostered unity against external forces as suppose to African tribes that had cultural and ethnic differences. 

On Edofolks.com, I have made Edo Language CDs for all who want to learn Edo and have also created the first online Edo dictionary.  I do not mind writing in Edo at all, but the world will appreciate Edo more after I become a household name in the global system.  Many Edos can't even read or speak Edo because they feel it is now insignificant, but if I break through, Edo will be reborn.  I do not believe that Muslim nations or cities are more peaceful.  What about Durfur, Iran and Iraq, Hutus and the Tusis, and northern Nigerian riots.  I used to live in Kaduna as a child in the late 1970s; they drove the southerner out and discriminated against us.  What about the Nigerian civil war?  Why did Usman Dan Fodio have to conquer the Hausa States when he could practice Islam in his locality?  Do you shed blood and bring pain to create safety? 

In all honesty, this was in 1998/1999 and the Emir of Bauchi was arrested because he did not have the right documents to be in the country.  But one will expect that the Emir or the Saudi Consulate would have taken care of that for a Holy event.  This to me, without evidence, could have been intentional to humiliate him and I did not take it lightly because it was a national and racial insult.   

Malcolm X became a Muslim because the Whites were truly terrible, but many of the early Jews and Biblical characters were truly African.  The White man stole the religion and made it his own.  Many Whites in America today would even admit that Jesus was Black but they will say "who cares about his race".  The Arab prophet said that the word God has given him was not different from those of the Prophets before him.  So he too will agree that there is God's wisdom in the Bible, if not in the White Christians. So a Pan-Africanist with the word of the true God, and not of man, can be something and bring pride and honor to Africa.  I will be willing to serve Nigeria in any capacity as long as they allow me to implement ideas that enhance the nation. 

 

I have no problem with Islam, Christianity, or Arabic, but it should never come before Africa on African soil and I will prefer your Yoruba name instead.  There is nothing wrong with doing Islam at Islamic events, but when we come together as Africans, Arabic and religion must give way to African benefit.  As for Gadhafi and African Union, he wants Arabic to be the official language and Tripoli as its capital.  Is this not an insult to Africa?  He may have good intentions, but when you put Arab language and land first, it is no longer African to me.  Stay blessed. 

Ehi 

********************* 

Hello Sir, 

Thank you very much for your responses. They reflect experience and wisdom. I really wish you the best in all your endeavors.  

It's been great pleasure having someone like you to talk with. I agree with many of what was in your last response. 

I still implore you to know more about Islam. It will enable you to differentiate between its teachings and the actions of some Muslims. Besides, what is wrong in searching for new knowledge? 

May peace of God be with you.  

Fadlulai  

**************** 

Thanks for your warm response.  The wisdom of God always brings unity, progress, and healing.  May the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding that we seek always make our nation, people, and continent to be great.  Nigeria will prosper.  Ise (Amen). 

Ehi 

*********** 

May this communication symbolize the brotherhood and Pan-Africanism that will propel Nigeria and Africa to greatness in our governments, businesses, and places of work and education through our politics and economics of fairness to all Nigerians!!!  Ise (Amen).

   

Responses

I want we Africans to put aside the Western and Eastern Religion. We don't need either for our salvation. Both had been and are still been used as weapons of mass oppression. Just look at their history and what they had done (and still doing) in Africa. haba!
 
Tayo

********************************************

Hello Ehi Aimiuwu,
 
I just finished reading the e-mails that went back and forth between you and one Nigerian muslim named Fadlulai. I found this guy very arrogant and disrespectful. He is a typical muslim and his attitude and manner of writing says it all. I was just wandering why he did not opt to be a  Koran teacher or the chief imam to people like Babaginda, Shehu Shagari, etc and all the other muslims that have rulled Nigeria or in post of leadership and teach them how a good muslim suppose to rule and put Nigeria first like the way he tried to portray Gadhafi. Where was he when these so called muslim rulers were looting our treasury. I wish I have his e-mail address, honestly you didn't give him enough answers in your responses. Anyway, I understand the tone of your e-mail as the saying goes.. don't argue with a fool because people will not know the difference.
 
We live in a very insecure society today because of Fadlulai's muslim brothers and sisters. His brother Osama Bin Laden has made the cost of security gone over the roof with many lives of young men and women wasted in the process of trying to free Fadlulai's brothers and sisters from the strangle hold of their religion. In places like Afghanistan, young girls can now go to school and be better women instead of covering their faces all day, later being raped by men so called husbands old enough to be their fathers as a result becoming baby machines at a very early immature age. I wish I have this Fadlulai's e-mail I have a lot to tell him. Nobody need to read the Koran before one knows a lot about Islam, the people practicing the religion is enough to tell one what the religion stands for. If the Koran said all that Fadlulai stated in his e-mails I guess we should all be living in paradise today based on the number of muslims in the world.
 
Anyway, I will appreciate if you can forward my e-mail to him. The only good thing I can say about Fadlulai is that he will be a good sales man for the Islamic faith if he decides to be one.
 
Thanks.
 
Elizabeth