Renowned Islamic Scholar, head of the Department of Religions at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State,Prof. Imam, Abubakar Ali-Agan has responded to the contentious remarks made by Nigerian literary icon,Prof. Wole Soyinka regarding Isese traditional worshippers and their relationship with the Muslim community in Ilorin.
Referring to Soyinka’s expertise in English language and literature, Prof Ali-Agan acknowledged Soyinka’s mastery but drew attention to the distinction between scholarly expertise and comprehensive knowledge.
While refraining from explicitly quoting Soyinka, the scholar critiqued what he perceived as an inherent anti-Islam agenda in Soyinka’s commentary, emphasizing that genuine intellectualism requires objective analysis rather than bias.
Prof Ali-Agan challenged Soyinka’s critical stance on Isese traditional worshippers and their practices, asserting that it is essential to approach cultural differences with sensitivity and understanding rather than dismiss them based on personal beliefs.
The scholar questioned the wisdom of criticizing a way of life simply due to its divergence from one’s own.
Addressing Soyinka’s comments about the Emir of Ilorin, Prof Ali-Agan expressed his view that casting aspersions on the revered figure is not a stance taken by reasonable academia.
He emphasized the significance of respecting the cultural sentiments of a community and avoiding actions that may provoke unrest.
While acknowledging Soyinka’s linguistic prowess, Prof Ali-Agan invited him to explore the harmonious coexistence between Christians and Muslims in Ilorin and its implications for the resistance against Isese traditional worshippers.
He urged Soyinka to analyze the situation objectively and offer insights that contribute to a deeper understanding of the complex dynamics at play.
The scholar concluded by asserting that the responsibility of addressing the concerns raised by Isese traditional worshippers rests with local scholars and the community itself.
He emphasized the need for scholarly discourse that fosters understanding and respect, rather than perpetuating divisive rhetoric.
Prof Ali-Agan’s response to Soyinka’s remarks sheds light on the multifaceted nature of religious coexistence and the importance of approaching such discussions with nuance and objectivity.
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