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Nigerian Muslims' pilgrimage in Jerusalem, Christian group kicks


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A group, Christian Vanguard, has described the approval of Muslims for Jerusalem pilgrimage by Lagos State Government as unacceptable.

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr Hakeem Abdul-Lateef, informed weeks ago that the approval was to enable Muslims visit the third holiest mosque in the city.

Abdul-Lateef had said: “We also urge Muslims that from this month, we will be accommodating Muslims who intend to visit Jerusalem because Jerusalem is home to the third holiest Mosque.”

<!-- adsense -- But Christian Vanguard said the approval was inciting and provoking.

In a statement by its president, Pastor Deji Adebayo, the group said allowing Muslims to go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem amounts to “stoking religious fire.”

It said: “Lagos State has enjoyed religious harmony because everyone is allowed to practise his/her faith without favour or harassment.

“This recent approval is a threat to that longstanding peace. Everyone should practise his or her religion without meddlesomeness or government’s tactic support.

“Why are Muslims interested in going to Jerusalem? Are they not pleased going to Saudi Arabia alone?

“Will Christians also be allowed to go on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia to return the favour or Muslims will claim it is a Holy Land?

“If Mecca is a Holy Land, so is Jerusalem. It is a Christian land and only Christians should embark on pilgrimage there.

“To say Muslims can now go there is sacrilegious and unacceptable. We wonder what they would like to do there.

“It is known worldwide that Muslims only go to Mecca for pilgrimage. How it was agreed that they can now go to Jerusalem is suspicious.”

The group called on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to order his officials to rescind the approval.

The governor, it said, should not be misled by religious bigots to formulate policies that will hamper religious peace in the land.

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