By Solomon Dalung, Minister of Sports.
I have read with interest comments of many expressed my recent visit to Anur Jummat Mosque Wuse, Zone 2 Abuja. To those who understood my mission, they also appreciated it and I am grateful because we are partners in peaceful coexistence.
The invitation to Islam by Sheikh Pantami was done in utmost bad faith and not within Islamic traditions. He did not invite me to attend the tafseer, I went on my own, therefore abusing the privilege was quite unfortunate. Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) received so many Christian delegations including those from St Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai, but never used their visits to invite them to Islam. Rather, he respected their religion and even granted some of them access to use the mosque for their worship.
I started visiting Muslim ummah during Ramadan about 5 years ago. My mission is simply to enhance better tolerance of each other by practical demonstration of understanding. I have attended tafseer of Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, where over one million Muslims were in attendance, but he had never ever abused the opportunity of our relationship. In fact, Sheikh Dahiru respects me a lot and I do same to him as father figure, too
The method employed by Sheikh Kantami was cheap blackmail because if he sincerely believed in converting me to Islam, he should have demonstrated commitments, not to take advantage of my visit. He knew my office or he should have adopted the traditions of the Prophet by writing me a letter of invitation but choosing the part of ambush was to say the least embarrassing but certainly not love at all.
As a cleric, he should have weighed the implications of his actions. While in his sermon he tried to condemn those acts that portrayed Islam in bad light, but he ended up been guilty of abused of obligations to his host. I informed him before hand of my visit, if he was not disposed to it, he could have politely turned it down not to accept then try to ridicule my reputation.
I have so many mentors who are Muslim leaders including Sheikh Lemu, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, Sultan of Sokoto, Sheikh Yahaya Jingir, Sheikh Khalid, Maitama Sule, Sani Zangon Daura, Ango Abdullahi, etc. They have never done anything to violate my religious rights. Rather, my relationship with them had strengthened my knowledge of Islam.
When Sheikh Kantami launched the affront on my faith, I was calm because it is part of the price I have to pay for peace. Not too long after my departure from Anur Jummat Mosque in Abuja, there was rumour of conversation to Islam which has been trending.
In my opinion, this has a nexus with the ill-fated invitation which primarily was intended to spark off instability. Let me appeal to all peace loving Christians and Muslims to be calm and disregard machinations of evil-minded people who see nothing good in peace.
Instead of discouraging me, it has emboldened me to do more for peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance in Nigeria. God is the author of faith and conscience, He act as it pleases Him. He created us different people with different faiths, culture and ethnic backgrounds yet He put us together in one country. This temptation is a test we must work hard to pass. May God Almighty grants us the grace to do His will, amen. Love you all.
DALUNG’S FACEBOOK POST ON SUNDAY:
“The social media platform has been inundated with a media hoax about purported theory of conversion to Islam of one Solomon Dalung, Minister of Youth and Sports, Nigeria. Sincerely, I doubt if this rumour is referring to me. And if indeed, the reference is me then it is quite unfortunate. I am a Christian, who believed in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I belong to the school of thought known as Christian realism. I am a God knowing liberal, who believed in humanity as basis of my faith. I love human nature and relates freely with all. It is my conviction that you can only preach the gospel by works and not mere speeches.
In my approach to serving God, I prayed for the spiritual gift of love, charity, humility and courage, to God be the glory I am blessed me with all. Human beings are born equal, we are what we are today by virtue of privilege and grace, so nobody should boast. Over a decade ago, God revealed to me a different perspective to worshiping him. In the revelation, I was instructed to work for peaceful coexistence between all people. Love was unveiled to me as the weapon. I was not left in doubt about the task and challenges associated with this mission. You will succeed despite all odds was the assurance from my Creator. Immediately, thereafter I was purged of religious bigotry, ethnic chauvinism, discrimination, hatred etc. Thereafter, I became filled with the courage to speak out boldly against all forms of injustice, hatred, violent crimes and discrimination. This is the beginning of my current predicaments which has earned me so many names, none believer, anti christ, traditionalist, Muslim and so on. My love for the Muslim ummah, non Christians, traditionalists, atheists is unconditional. It is not evidence of sharing in their faiths but an expression of obedience to the Lord of God Almighty who created man in His image and likeness. The Muslim community deserves more of this love because of the existing animosity between Christians and Muslims. Therefore, those spreading the ill fated rumor because of my presence at two tafseer in abuja is evidence of ignorance. It is mere figment of their imaginations informed by wishful zeal to have me in the Muslim community. There is nothing wrong with wishful thinking but what is bad here is the zeal to misinform and mislead gullible innocent population. The irony of this deceit is that the architects did not tell Nigerians my new Islamic name.
That they still say Minister Solomon Dalung accepted kalmatul shaada, without an Islamic name is fallacy of this calumny. The intention of those behind this satanic act is political solely to instigate confusion between Christians and Muslims. The relative peaceful situation in the country is against the interest of crisis entrepreneurs, so they are exploiting my peace mission to the Muslim community to enhance their enterprise. We cannot fall prey to handiwork of crisis promoters who survive only on the blood of innocent people. Be calm, SOLOMON SELCAP DALUNG has not changed his faith, if God so desired nobody can oppose it but for now let’s give peace a chance and work towards the unity of our country. I will live my life in the service of humanity, peace is my mission, love is the vehicle and humility is the weapon. Oh God, Master of the day of Judgement, deliver us from the afflictions of men of folly that we may find favour with you on that great day. Love you all”.