When Rev. Matthew Kukah stated that he would be training Almajiri children, the news was met with different reactions. While many applauded this idea, some Muslims elders wrote and spoke against it (with reasons). From what I gathered, the project is part of the plan by Pope Francis in conjunction with the Kukah Centre and Spanish Foundation, Profofiro to provide digital leadership training for vulnerable youths in the 19 Northern States of Nigeria.
It is understandable when Muslim leaders write and stand up against this when how a lot of Muslim children were Christianized in the name of education comes to mind. Back then, many Muslim children had to choose between their faith and education. Many changed their names, some did not but along the line, changed their faith then become pastor Jinadu, Elder Lasisi etc.
That said, the law of the country is such that the children are Nigerians before Muslims unlike the religion where they are Muslims before Nigerians hence we do not have total control over them but the government. It is also very important to note that we do not have any Moral Right to stand against this idea except we provide what is better. Who would say, “Please, don’t feed and train our children” when nothing is in place for them?
However, the tactics of the missionaries to bring more sheep into the fold is not new and this is the worry of many Muslim leaders. For the missionaries, nothing goes for nothing. Given previous missionary activities in Africa, this project seem to me like we are giving the world to the children to take away there hereafter. Do we then say nothing should be done on this grounds?
Do we have any right to ask to be part of a project we didn’t start or know almost nothing about? Are they now our children when they are to be trained and how dear were our children to us when no help came? There are so many questions but the most important, are we taking frogs for dinner?
Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman