Thursday, 11 February 2016


Written by PromiseEdem Nukunu
Ag. Secretary-General, PeaceAids International
For detailed profile visit :
                                                                                                             volume 3, edition: mmi/068

Violent extremists are “individuals who support or commit ideologically-motivated violence to further political, religious or ethnic goals and to suite self interest”

 When extremism, blindfold us, all what we see is violent and destruction and such an act threatens world peace. All men are created equal but for different purpose and everyone is entitled to the fundamental human right, Not only for one violent extremist or the other. I am not a Muslim and I am not an Islamic scholar. I am not a religious expert. I am writing as one of the world citizens. My role as a humanitarian from reading and observing religious activities around the world, as well as my work as a Ag. Secretary-General of PeaceAids International, has taught me that there is so much injustice done to Muslims whenever we equate terrorism with Islam. I am not saying all Muslims are saints and there’s nothing wrong with the religion. Every religion has it’s problems. I am only talking about tagging and generalization.

Nana Ansah Kwao had a very enlightening discussion on his Thursday afternoon show, “That’s My Opinion.A show he normally host on Joy FM every Thursday from 2pm to 3pm. ” His topic was, “Not every Muslim is a terrorist, but most terrorist claim to be Muslims.”
The topic and the subject are very receptive, and required a lot of tactfulness in order not to hurt the sensibilities of Muslims, especially on such an important day as the Eid-Adha. However, for those who listened to the show it was clear that Islam is not a bad religion. Muslims are not bad people. Like any other religion, Some people have used the religion to advance their own murderous causes. The media have not helped. The words “terrorists” and “militants” are hardly used these days without Islam. That was what the show sought to dispel and it is first rated when such enlightenment is coming from a non-Muslim.
In a bid to address such issue and to prevent violent extremist, i write to voice out my concerns towards a fairer and peaceful world. 

“As extremists try to inspire acts of violence within us and our sub regions, we must respond with the strength of our communities, with the respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that rational Muslims or Christians, traditionalist or pagans, Jews or gentiles, Buddhist or Confucians, are part of our family and struggle to fight this extremist.” 
           Promise Edem Nukunu
         Ag. Secretary-General
                                                                    PeaceAids International

When someone takes a weapon e.g. gun, goes to a a gathering perhaps a market or night club and starts killing people, the media call him a “gun man.” When he is overpowered, they recommend a psychiatric assessment and they will later report of how he was abused as a child and how that might have influenced his violent behavior and attitude. This same action was seen when a young man rose one day to shoot the president of republic of Ghana during a church service and later was subjected to psychiatric investigation and hence his discharge.
If the suspect bears a Muslim name, however, the narrative is different. He is labeled an Islamic terrorist even before he is arrested. It is that simple!
For this reason, perhaps, many people who have not had any negative encounter with Muslims are quick to tag them as violent. Recently when I was thinking about this unfair tagging and negative reportage, one question came to mind: “If Dag Heward Mills of the Light House chapel International, Apostle Dr. Opoku Onyina, Chairman of The Church of Pentecost and Bishop Obinim of the International Gods way Church, were Muslims, which one would we say represents Islam?
If you don’t know about these three Men of God, let me give you a little background. Apostle Opoku Onyinah is one of the respected clergyman in Ghana, in my perspective. He has used the pulpit to shape the conscience of many Ghanaian. His much wisdom has been an ever-flowing fountain for those who cherish wisdom. His ministry has impacted millions across the globe with churches all over the world.
Likewise, Bishop Dag Heward Mills is also one of the respected clergyman in Ghana, in my opinion. He has also used the pulpit to shape the conscience of many Ghanaians and Africa. His much knowledge and demeanor has been a place of solace for those who need comforting in the heart and as well as to those who cherish wisdom. His ministry has impacted millions across the country and beyond. His contribution in engaging in community development and human resource development is much to be applaud which include building of hospitals, Schools etc.
As the Chairman of the Church of Pentecost, Apostle Opoku Onyinah’s church has also helped in the development of the nation. Pentecost Convention Center and The Pentecost University College established by the church is one of Ghana’s Largest social, conference and one of the good  universities respectively private while a number of charity initiatives by the church provide social services such as healthcare and water. The church also provides scholarships for needy children, including Muslims.

Bishop Daniel Obinim, on the other hand, is noted for his “miracles” and “healings.” His name, however, connotes other crude manifestations of the Christian Faith. To me, i see his actions as a cheap propaganda way of parading Christianity and to foster his own conceited agenda. In one video, he is seen kicking the abdomen of a pregnant woman he claims to be healing. This act is not only barbaric but a crude action against humanity and foster maternal health mortality which is also against United Nations Sustainable development goals. In another video, he strips a man who is said to be impotent, and in the full glare of the church and cameras, holds his penis as he prays. This is real violent extremist.
In 2014, he descended into the ditch with some people who had chided him in the media.If vulgarity and domination of foul language were gifts of the Holy Spirit, Bishop Daniel Obinim could be said to be very gifted and talented in them. In the presence if his congregation and TV cameras, he slighted and cursed all those who had issues with him. He once stormed the studios of an Accra-based radio stations to attack people who were criticizing him on a live programme. These are only a few of his pastoral aerobics/gymnastics.
Now get this: Bishop Dag Heward Mills, Apostle Opoku Onyinah and Bishop Daniel Obinim are both Christians. They both use the same Bible. So if someone wants to describe Christians, would he or she be fair to say that all Christians are like Obinim?

 To kindly serve as a reminder, in case you are not aware, Bishop Obinim’s actions are very mild if you compared him with some other Christian leaders and their weird doctrines. A Brazilian pastor asked his church members to suck his penis because, he claimed it contained some kind of milk from the Holy Spirit. They obeyed. A South African pastor asked his church members to eat grass and they did. A Nigerian pastor impregnated over 20 members of his church and said he had been directed by the Holy Spirit to do it. Some pastors and churches also subject members suspected to be possessed by the evil spirit to torture and physical abuse. A pastor told his members he had to lash them with cane and they obeyed and another pastor asked his member to naked themselves any time they come to church, because, he claimed ''everyone was born naked''. Other religious leaders still operate in the old law, ‘’a tooth for a tooth’’ and an eye for an eye’’ taking the law into their own hands, threatening the rule of law.  Whiles the new covenant teaches that, LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF, perhaps some preachers still holds on to the old law ; a tooth for a tooth , an eye for an eye. For me, this is not Christianity but rather, a different theology being preached altogether of which I termed as, ‘’REVENGE CHRISTIANITY’’ and extremist. This is inimical and hinder progress and threatens world peace.

 It is obvious these so-called pastors are doing abominable acts that are alien to the religion they profess to follow. But do we see all Christians in the light of only the bad ones? The answer is no. At least, that’s not how the media tell us.

The same cannot be said of Islam. If Bishop Dag Heward Mills, Apostle Opoku Onyinah and Bishop Daniel Obinim were Muslims, I am sure we would use Bishop Obinim to represent Muslims and ignore the likes of Bishop Dag Heward Mills, Apostle Opoku Onyinah who are transforming society through the Word of God.

Religious extremism is hurting the world today. And it is not only in Islam that we find extremists. There are extremists in Christianity too. As Manasseh Azure narrated his experience, ‘’In 2014, I walked into a thick forest near Oyibi here in Accra. In that thick forest live some Christians who see the rest of the world as sinful and refer to it as Sodom and Gomorrah. They live in simple tents and grow mushrooms to survive. Speaking to them, I realized that they were not gullible illiterates, as one would imagine. Some were university graduates. A director of the Ghana Education Service and tutor of a senior high school was there in the forest. I also met a very intelligent lady who had left her job as a lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Languages and is living in that forest with her husband’’. Well if this is not extremism, I do not know how else you will refer to it.? Should we abandoned our houses and lived in the jungle at the expenses of making the so called religious leaders lived well before, we realized we are worshiping God?
Some pastors, go to the extreme to tell their followers to give them their vehicles or houses claiming to be a direction from God.

There are different manifestations of religious extremism. Whiles society metamorphosed, they still hold onto, old ideologies and to achieve their old parochial interest. They are locked in psychological dungeon and paralysed in the mind to initiate their brain crippled ideas. I really remember, when the bibles states, ‘’Behold, all things have become new. The old has passed away’’. Such church leaders as extremist want to counter it and operate on their self insular interest and formulations. For those linking theirs with Islam, their mode of operation is mostly violent. To defeat religious extremism, we need to condemn the actions of the extremists without crucifying their religion. To prepare an antidote for a snake bite, you do not kill the snake to heal the person, but rather you get the venom/serum to prepare the antidote. The same way, you cannot treat malaria infection by killing the mosquitoes that bite you, rather you destroy their breeding grounds and administer a drug or vaccine purposely design for your system. When we attack the entire religion we make the good adherents of that religion defensive and we push moderate devotees of the religion to become extremists. When people feel threatened, they get defensive and offensive to be more aggressive and agitated. For example; how do you feel, when you did something wrong, and your colleague results you connecting to your parents, probably insulting your mother? Bad!! Exactly what I mean.

There are thousands and millions of Muslims in Ghana (and i bebelieve in your state to). They co-exist peacefully with Christians and members of other faiths. Just recently a group of pastors and Imams met to sign a peace declaration. Why do we have to look to Syria or Nigeria to conclude that Muslims are violent or terrorists? What about the peaceful ones at home? There are probably more human rights abuses by Christian churches in Ghana than by Muslims. Extortion in churches and maltreatment of the vulnerable people in prayer camps abound in many communities. Do we single out such individual pastors and churches for condemnation or we condemn Christianity in general?
‘’While such money minded church leaders sometimes embezzle church money, others are not accountable to anybody since the church is their private company. After, acquiring money from such questionable sources, these church leaders usher themselves into gratuitous materialism. They are also usually caught up in the trap of Neophilism, which is  the excessive love of new things. This, they do, by purchasing the latest cars, musical instruments, dresses and many other things. Before long, such pastors and church leaders are caught in the web of consumerism, which describes the effects of equating personal happiness with purchasing material possession and consumption. For such pastors and church leaders, there is nothing like ‘’Godliness with contentment...’’ ( 1 Timothy 6:6). They project their affluence to the masses to suggest to them that material acquisitions is a sign of God’s blessing irrespective of how it was acquired.’’

A  research will show that, the likes of Boko Haram, Al-Qaida  and Islamic States are not fighting the cause of Islam. They are only using religion to fight purely political wars.
Other powerful western countries are partly responsible for what is happening. The Arab world has a lot of oil and so they are interested in what goes on in those countries. In the name of entrenching democracy, they adopt divide-and-rule tactics to set various sects of the religion against one another for political gains. Sometimes the so-called Islamic terrorists are a creation of the West.

The very rebel forces the Super Powers of the world gave deadly weapons to fight President Assad of Syria are the same people who are beheading, torturing and killing innocent people like animals. Their actions have nothing to do with Islam, except to use the religion as a way of attracting more extremists. Nigeria’s Boko Haram have killed more Muslims than people of other faiths. If they were Muslims fighting to entrench Islam, they would not be killing and bombing Muslims.

We can defeat religious extremism. The way to do it is not to label everyone of that religion with the same brush. The only way we can get Muslims to boldly condemn and disown those visiting terror on the world in the name of Islam is to appreciate the fact that not all Muslims are violent extremist.
 The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Dr Osman Nuhu Sharubutu in Ghana with President John Mahama (President of the republic of Ghana)  has publicly condemned religious extremism and intolerance.

If religious extremism can end, we must stop the greed, injustice and hypocrisy. Whatever time we may have to devote to the discovery and exposure of the weakness and fault of others we will have to devote, more profitably to the discovery of your own. Do not let your brain be the receptacles of people’s rubbish and deceitful acts. We must stop tagging a whole religion as violent. Doing so means accusing the very people who can help to end the extremism.
Hypocrisy and injustice on the world stage is what has set the world ablaze with unending conflicts. The Western powers are quick to go to Libya and kill Gadaffi like an animal because he did not uphold the principles of democracy and human rights. But those same countries do not see anything wrong with Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to drive cars or vote in elections. In the period when Islamic State militants started beheading people, Saudi Arabia is said to have beheaded more people over various offenses. Do Saudis not have human rights?

 Let’s again look at this people, Bishop Dag Heward Mills, Apostle Opoku Onyinah and Bishop Daniel Obinim. All are Christians. They serve the same God. They use the same Bible. They all says they operate with the same Holy Spirit. In Utmost outlook, no religion can be mark as bad in the world. We only have bad followers. We can fight terrorism by uprooting the cause. What could cause the young university graduate from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to join a terrorist group? Is it because he is a Muslim? No! but it’s because of his own conceited ways and false doctrine. Being with Muslims, I know Islam means ‘’peace’’, unless otherwise connoted differently a new and crafted meanings. Violent extremist just want to fulfill their evil acts just like in every other religion. Again, just like in every other religion, Pastors and church leaders hide behind the pulpit to orchestrate their dubious agenda in the name of church. And so does Muslims in the name of Islam. Let all come together in a symphony of brotherhood and (of cause in sisterhood) to champion and respect the rule of law to foster unity and prevent violence. 

Image references.
1.       Upper left image

2.       Upper Middle image

    3. lower middle right

    4. lower let