Muslims of Igbo extraction have formed a platform called South Eastern Muslims Organisation of Nigeria (SEMON).
At their first meeting held in Enugu, they kicked against being addressed as “Igbo Muslims”, which they said has some connotation of inferiority.
National Chairman of the group, Muhammad Obiahu Ajah disclosed this while addressing the faithful at Islamic Centre, Uwani, Enugu.
He said it was high time they defined how they should be addressed by other people, pointing out that there were no such designations as Hausa Muslims or Yoruba Muslims or even Ijaw Muslims”.
Ajah stressed the need for them to ensure that their identities tally with Igbos by aligning with Igbo Agenda, adding that they cannot bear to isolate themselves from what majority of Igbo people legitimately demand from the central government.
He reminded the participants that they have an origin which is Igbo, but was quick to add that they must continue to identify themselves as Nigerians and work for the growth of Nigeria as one.
Ajah said, “It is time for us to define how we should be addressed by other people. Yes we are called by our own Igbo people as Ndi Alakuba which literally means the people of Allahu Akbar. That is a very fantastic nomenclature. By that, we are referred to as The People who believe that God is great.
“Being addressed as Igbo Muslims, after critical examination, infers some sense of inferiority. That is unacceptable because Islam is a universal religion and the yardstick of closeness to the lord of Islam-Allah-is piety which any Muslim of any race can wear by the grace of Allah.
Presenting a paper at the event entitled “Igbo Muslims Challenges: A Way-Out and Prospects,” the guest speaker, Suleman Agha Afikpo identified loss of identity to other ethnic group as the major fear of most agitations against Islam spreading in Igboland.
He noted that average Igbo believe any one in contact with Islam denounces his/or her ethnic affiliation for Hausa culture.