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The tragedy of a fixated psyche

Sometime in December 2015, Saudi Arabia announced the formation of the Islamic Coalition Against Terrorism otherwise known as the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism…

Sometime in December 2015, Saudi Arabia announced the formation of the Islamic Coalition Against Terrorism otherwise known as the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT). This Saudi-led military coalition is aimed at sharing information, providing training and equipment and, if necessary, forces; for the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants.
In an interview last month (March 2016) with the international satellite news channel, Aljazeera, President Muhammadu Buhari confirmed Nigeria’s membership of the Saudi-led IMAFT. Justifying the resolve to join the anti-terrorism coalition, President Buhari said: “We are part of it because we have got terrorists in Nigeria with claim that they are Islamic. So, if there is an Islamic coalition to fight terrorism, Nigeria will be part of it because we are casualties of Islamic terrorism.”
The IMAFT coalition whose joint operations’ centre is to be established in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, comprises 34 nations which are largely Muslim countries namely: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Turkey, Chad, Togo, Tunisia, Djibouti, Senegal, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Gabon, Guinea, the Palestine, Comoros, Qatar, Cote d’Ivoire, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Mali, Malaysia, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Yemen. Besides leading the IMAFT coalition, Saudi Arabia is also part of a coalition led by the United States of America against the Islamic State. Saudi is also leading another military intervention in Yemen against Shiite rebels.
Countries that cut across religious, cultural and ethnic divides have at different times suffered from the brutal attacks of terrorists who operate under different ideological names around the world; with many of them laying dubious claims to Islam as a basis for their actions, beliefs and judgments. These terrorist groups include Al-Qaeda; Taliban; the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS); Hezbollah; the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL); Al-Shabab; Jundallah; Boko Haram; and the Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimeena Fi Biladi Sudan; all of which operate in the member-countries of the IMAFT.
Some of these terrorist groups are also found in countries that are not yet part of the Saudi-led IMAFT. ISIS, for instance, is in Syria and Iraq; two war-torn and severely devastated countries of the Middle East. Levant is the English translation adopted by the US government for the Arabic name ‘Sham’ which refers to a geographical region that extends over Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel and Jordan. 
Ever since President Buhari declared Nigeria’s membership of IMAFT, reactions have continued to trail the development. Of all reactions, the antiphon from some Christian groups in the country is one criticism too sentimental and prejudiced. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), for example, through its Secretary General, Rev. Musa Asake, reportedly said: “This singular gesture of the Buhari government betrays so much and tends to confirm our fears that underneath everything this government is doing, there is an agenda with strong Islamic undertones aimed at undermining Nigeria’s pluralistic character and neutrality regarding government’s affiliation to any one religion.”
CAN also alleges that the country’s affiliation to the coalition is an attempt to brand Nigeria as a Muslim country! Similarly, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State was reported to have said during the inter-denominational thanksgiving held in Port Harcourt to celebrate Nyesom Wike’s victory at the Supreme Court which ruled in his favour as governor of Rivers State that: “They have started subtle moves to make Nigeria an Islamic nation but God will stop them.”
One wonders at how a coordinated fight against terrorism along with some worse-hit countries could make any faith a state religion in Nigeria. It’s a pity that those who appear too fanatical about religion do not actually know the difference between a Muslim and an Islamic country. If the coalition were for any Islamic motives or Islamic agenda can CAN or Fayose explain what Togo, Sierra Leone and Benin Republic are doing in the IMAFT alliance?
Reacting to allegations that he was giving the country an Islamic identity, President Buhari got it right when he said: “It is Nigeria that matters, not the opinion of some religious bigots. How can I change the religious identity of Nigeria?” It seems from the language of these professional faultfinders that they are just a set of bigots who fanatically believe that nothing done by a Muslim in a leadership position in Nigeria has the slightest sincerity of purpose. And because they do not largely trust themselves, they remain far from having confidence in whatever others, particularly Muslims, in positions of authority do. This is the tragedy of a fixated psyche.
If, for instance, you are a Christian and you suddenly found a snake in your vicinity with your immediate Muslim neighbour having a long stick that could kill the snake, would you refuse to seek your neighbour’s intervention because he is a Muslim and you are a Christian? If you try that option, you could be the first casualty of the snake’s attack.
Again, if Nigeria’s diplomatic relationship with the Vatican has not made Nigeria a Christian State, how common-sensical is it that Nigeria’s membership of a Saudi-led coalition turns the country in to an Islamic nation? Indeed, this writer sees nothing wrong with President Buhari aligning Nigeria with even atheist nations provided such a coalition would lead to the defeat of terrorism and terrorists.
An obsessed mind-set is a strong barrier that stands on a person’s way to taking others into confidence. It is the same fixated psyche from which former President Goodluck Jonathan chronically suffered that consequently prevented him from seeing Boko Haram as a terrorist group. He saw the group as synonymous with Muslims and Islam. Anyone who suffers from a fixated psyche enjoys a hardened heart against truth.
Qur’an 2:55 reminds us of how the Israelites doubted Prophet Musa (AS) and his message. They insisted that they were not going to believe until God appeared to them manifestly. Some Nigerians, too, are not likely to believe in those that epitomise good leadership until they are consumed by their own refusal to take their worthy leaders into confidence.
Peace, like freedom, is a universal value. No religion, culture or civilisation can afford to ignore peace. No matter how fixated people are about the religion they profess, there must first be peace before they can practise their faith. May Allah (SWT) guide against becoming victims of fixated psyche, amin.

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