(CNSNews.com) – Boko Haram is demanding that Nigeria’s Christian president convert to Islam or resign, a stance that again calls into question the Obama administration’s playing down of religion as the primary motivation for the radical group.
In an online video clip released over the weekend, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau told President Goodluck Jonathan to “repent and forsake Christianity.”
The News Agency of Nigeria said Shekau, speaking in Hausa, said the president should convert or resign if he wanted Boko Haram to end its violent campaign.
Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati dismissed the demand as attempted “blackmail.”
“When Nigerians voted overwhelmingly for President Jonathan in the 2011 general election, they knew they were voting for a Christian,” he told reporters in the federal capital, Abuja.
“He has the mandate of Nigerians to serve his fatherland. Nobody should imagine that he will succumb to blackmail.”
Inviting an enemy to convert to Islam or face the consequences is a longstanding tradition in Islam, modeled on the example set by the religion’s seventh century prophet.
A hadith (the writings and sayings of the prophet) by Sahih al-Bukhari quotes Mohammed as saying, “I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform a that, then they save their lives an property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah.” Read more