RE: DESPITE RECESSION, STATES, OTHERS SPEND N136.5BN ON HAJJ: A DELIBERATE ATTEMPT TO DISCREDIT  ISLAM
The attention of National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations( NACOMYO) has been drawn to a deliberately distorted publication carried by the Punch newspaper, a paper that has been unremitting in it’s anti Islam and Muslims posture; on Saturday, 2nd September, 2017, at page 7. Punch under the chairmanship of one Mr Wale Aboderin, has consistently been known for it’s jaundiced views, highly bias, unbalanced and unprofessional reports against Islam and the Muslims. In it’s ever brazen efforts to denigrate Islam and the Muslims, the paper and it’s management team are ready to swim in putridity. The particular publication under reference is yet another studious orchestration by the punch newspaper to heap invectives on the Muslims. Facts were stood on their head. Where Islam and Muslims are the intended objects of mortification, the paper and it’s management team have no scruples at distorting, twisting and grossly manipulating issues to gratify their proclivity of hate against the religion and its adherents. The punch has become a byword for hate against anything Islam.
1.   The timing and names of the reporters, clearly  talk of the goal which is to smear Islam and Muslims. The entire report which is pathologically hollow in it’s content and shallow in understanding of the subject matter, is certainly an affront which is intended to provoke the Muslims. Nothing highlights this point better than the persons chosen to carry out the so called investigation. Given their names, JESUSEGUN (Jesus won) it is obvious that like their paymaster, they too are implacable adversaries of Islam and Muslims
Added to this is that while the publication was disdainful of Islam, there was a juxtaposition of a positive picture of Christian clerics on the same page. This is provocative and unprofessional.
2. The provocative headline says N136.5bn spent on Hajj. The Punch arrived at that figure by calculating the total hajj fare of 91, 000: pilgrims based on N1.5m per each pilgrim. This figure is very far from the truth the total allocation of pilgrims to Nigeria by Saudi Arabian government is 79000 out of which 15,000 slots were reserved for international hajj operators. The Punch deliberately added 12,000 to the number to create an outrageous bizarre figure
3. As this is not enough, the paper went ahead to dish a meal of mendacity to its readers when it claimed that a Christian dominated state like Plateau sponsored 616 Muslims for this hajj. This is a cruel lie. If that were the case it will mean that the state will sponsor the entire Christians of the state to Jerusalem on pilgrimage.
4.      Hajj is a fundamental pillar of Islam. The Council therefore wonders if the Punch would now criminalize a Muslim wanting to fulfil the command of his Creator. What is wrong if a Muslim with passion, hope and joy carries out this journey of life, even if it means using his life savings. It is paradoxical that the same paper that seeks to ridicule hajj, admits that it is a religious obligation for Muslims. They wrote, “… although going on Hajj at least once in a lifetime is one of the five pillars of Islam, the Qur’an described it as a religious obligation that is meant for the faithful who can afford it. Meanwhile, VISITING JERUSALEM FOR PILGRIMAGE IS NOT AN OBLIGATION FOR CHRISTIANS”. Unlike other faiths pilgrimage is at the heart of Islam. What the Punch newspaper fails or neglects to appreciate, is the fact that until man is draped in the costume of spirituality, society would forever navigate the heaving ocean of putridity. The Punch should address the causes of our recession and leave Islam. Allison Diezani Madueke has not been under the paper’s attack. If the paper is truly patriotic it should deal with those who have defalcated our common patrimony that resulted in  our economic crisis. Hate tells who you are, it does not edify.
5.  The Punch was highly biased as it failed to tell Nigerians how many Christian pilgrims are sponsored to Jerusalem by all states, most especially, the south-eastern and south-southern States which are predominantly Christian domains on annual basis. If truly these reporters wanted to be objective in their reporting, they supposed to divert their searchlight on Christian pilgrimage which they have agreed is not compulsory but, still, states all over the country, spend heavily on it annually. Rather, they regarded setting up Hajj Commission as a waste and a misplacement. Can any sensible government disregard an operation such as annual hajj operation, where more than three thousand indigenes are involved? Can the so called advanced countries jettison issues affecting their nationals just because of religious sentiment? If Israel could destroy more than half of Lebanon  just because of two soldiers,  so what stops Nigeria, as a sovereign country, to send few medics, guides and others  to oversee affairs of more than seventy thousand pilgrims just because it wants to establish its secularity?
6.         Finally, It is high time that the Punch stops its campaign of calumny have against Islam and Muslims which only makes it unpopular. The Punch should look for a better strategy to sell its papers other than waging a futile war against the religion of Allah to avoid His looming wraths.
Signed
Engr. Ahmad M. Y. Jumba
Vice President I
Ustaz. Binyamin Yusuf
National Secretary General
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