Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has slammed the spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Management Committee (PCC), Dino Melaye, for saying Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential flag-bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 election, is not a Muslim.
Melaye had, in a tweet on Monday, challenged Tinubu to recite the Fatiha and three suras to demonstrate that he is a true Muslim.
He tweeted: “Fathia challenge: Dino defeated Tinubu in Quranic citation. Emilokan is not a Muslim but an emergency Muslim trying to learn the basics of Islam for political purposes. Vote him out.”
However, MURIC has now fired back at Melaye, insisting he had no moral right to question Tinubu’s level of faith.
MURIC’s reaction was contained in a statement issued on Wednesday by the director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads in part: “We are astonished by Dino Melaye’s statement. To say the least, it is false, baseless and unfounded. It is a product of oral diarrhoea. It is also an intrusion into Muslim affairs by a non-Muslim who does not enter the mosque with us. It is, therefore, provocative, preposterous and ill-advised.
“Dino Melaye is not qualified to utter such a statement. The last time we checked, Dino was busy climbing trees. There is no record of him ever attending a madrasah (Quranic school) talk of being an Islamic scholar. Can he, therefore, tell us when Tinubu came to him to learn Surat al-Fatihah which he claimed Tinubu does not know? Is he Tinubu’s Alfa?
“Dino comes across as a meddlesome interloper and confusion who, faced by an eminently qualified and indubitably superior opposition candidate, clings at straws in a desperate search for foul means to demonize this primus inter pareil presidential material called Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“He knows very well that Tinubu is the numero uno among all the presidential candidates for the 2023 elections. Dino is currently frustrated because he is aware that Tinubu is the doyen of Nigerian Muslims and their choice for the presidency despite the fact that his principal, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is also a Muslim.
“This is where Dino is going. His message was meant to be digested by Nigerian Muslims. That is why it is MURIC’s business to tackle him. He appears to be saying, ‘Drop Tinubu. He is not Muslim enough. Stop following him. My principal is a better Muslim’.
“But Nigerian Muslims are not being parochial. They did not pick Tinubu because he is a Muslim. They picked him because of his pedigree. They picked him because they knew that he is capable of managing the Nigerian economy in this turbulent world, just as he did in Lagos State when the going got rough.
“Melaye has failed, however. We know Tinubu is not a Shaykh or an Islamic scholar. Not every Muslim must be an Islamic scholar anyway. It is enough for us that he is a Muslim. We are also aware that only a tolerant Muslim can unite Nigeria in its present condition and Tinubu happens to be the round peg in the round hole.
“Why should that be a problem for Dino? Why is he taking panadol for our perceived headache? Dino should realize that he cannot weaken the resolve of Nigerian Muslims to support Tinubu.
“A similar smear campaign was engineered when Tinubu sat on a chair during Salat (prayer) inside a mosque. It is only ignoramuses that can criticize a Muslim for using a chair during Salat. It is a common practice even in Makkah and Madinah. It is Shariah-compliant.
“Muslims who have knee problems are allowed to sit on chairs during Salat. Even the director of MURIC sits on a chair during Salat, and he goes about with a foldable chair in his car boot. Dino’s tag of ‘emergency Muslim’ for Tinubu holds no water. It is a misnomer. Tinubu is not a convert. So what necessitated that label?
“Neither is Tinubu homo sapien incognito to the Muslims of Lagos, nay, the whole of Yorubaland. We can also confirm that Tinubu is the most popular and most loved Southern Muslim in the North. We assert clearly, categorically and unequivocally that Tinubu is a bona fide Muslim. Dino Melaye should shut up.
“Dino is wasting his time if he asks Muslims to vote against Tinubu in the next election. We are not surprised anyway. A man who spent 11 hours on tree top must have a flair either for time-wasting or for authoring the other version of the truth.”