Cult leaders no reflection of religion
I must congratulate Mr Gwynne Dyer for an excellent article yesterday, "Boko Haram" (Express, Page 13), in which he outlined the many recent uprisings and reprisals by a movement in the Nigerian northern state of Bornu.
However, the point must be reiterated here that although Boko Haram means "Western education is sinful", the term may not be used to mean "scientific education" but rather cultural, traditional and religious education. This may have a direct impact on the way of life and on sinful practices.
We must remember, too, that Islam is one of the first religions to speak of astronomy and space travel. The lunar calendar is based on specific calculations which ensure each month must have 29 or 30 days, so there are no extra hours as in the Gregorian calendar which creates the leap year every four years.
Also, the present number system which we now use emanated from one that was created by the Arabs over 1,400 years ago and which is still in circulation. So it will not be right to say the Arabs were not a scientific-thinking people.
Finally, in every religion, there will be fanatics or those who operate under the guise of that religion to woo would-be followers seeking redemption or salvation. Case in point is the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana in 1978. Hundreds of lives were lost in that ensuing fiasco.
Also, in 1993, in Waco, Texas, USA, a religious movement called Branch Davidians, led by Vernon Howell, alias David Koresh, accounted for the deaths of dozens of his followers. The actions of these cult leaders are certainly not a reflection of the religious teachings which they profess to follow.
Hence, it is not safe to say that people born under the jurisdiction of a certain religion or in a particular country so dominated do everything as the religion prescribes.