Veteran journalist advocates improved reading culture among Muslims

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Veteran journalist advocates improved The guest lecturer, a veteran journalist, Dr Femi Abbas (second left), receiving a plaque from the special guest of honour, Dr Sulleiman Adediran, at the 14th biennial conference of the Obafemi Awolowo University Muslim Graduates’ Association (UNIFEMGA), Ibadan chapter, held in Ibadan, Oyo State, last weekend.

A veteran journalist, Dr Femi Abbas, has lamented what he called the poor reading culture among Muslims, saying it portends danger for the Muslim community.

He made the remark in Ibadan, Oyo State, while delivering a lecture on media and Islam in contemporary Nigeria at the 14th biennial conference of the Obafemi Awolowo University Muslim Graduates’ Association (UNIFEMGA), Ibadan chapter.

Abbas said it was high time Muslims cultivated the habit of reading so that they could become well informed and more knowledgeable about Islam.

“The reality on ground is that Muslims don’t read. The percentage of Muslims that read is 10. It is very unfortunate and without reading, you cannot be informed and without information, you cannot be knowledgeable. Let Muslims read. They should not wait until an issue affects them before they start reacting,” he said.

Abbas, who is a newspaper columnist, said the media and Islam should not be viewed from the perspective of either friend or foe but be seen like in a competition where a party expects the other to advertise or sell its products.

“There is no question of friend or foe. You can not be in a competition with somebody and you expect him to advertise your product. You have to build your own publicity in your name and by yourself,” he explained.

He called on Muslims to patronise and at the same time invest in media as it remains a veritable tool even for the propagation of Islam.

The veteran journalist faulted the Nigerian education system which places premium on literacy, emphasising that education transcends the ability to read and write.

He said: “Literacy is education in Nigeria. This is wrong. Education is beyond reading and writing. The most educated human being was Prophet Muhammad and he was an illiterate, whereas his messages are evergreen year in year out.”

In a remark, the chairman of the occasion, a former provost of the Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka, Lagos, Dr Tirimisiyu Oladimeji, expressed the belief that the media had not been fair to Islam in terms of objectivity and unbiased reportage.

“Sometimes the reports on Islam are laced with lies. Many unprofessional stories are used just to paint Muslims and Islam black,” Dr Oladimeji said.

Earlier, the chairman of the Ibadan chapter of UNIFEMGA, Dr Ismail Kamil, said the choice of the topic of the lecture was based on the fact that Islam had become a victim of misinformation, disinformation and outright attacks by a section of the media.

“There are concerns in some quarters that media reports on issues concerning Islam and Muslims are deliberately twisted and exaggerated. Others believe that most of the reports are influenced by political, ethnic and religious leanings,” Kamil said.

The inauguration of the current executive under the chairmanship of Dr Kamil for another two-year term was performed by the national president of the association, Alhaji Abdul-Fattah Olanlege, who congratulated them for a successful first term and urged them to do more in terms of membership drive as well as improve on the welfare of the members.

Other members of the association who graced the occasion include the Oyo State Head of Service, Alhaja Hamdalat Agboola and a former chairman of the Oyo State Primary Education Board (SPEB), Dr Sulleiman Adediran.


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