Viewing cable 02ABUJA3312
Title: NIGERIA: SOME ISLAMIC CLERICS OBJECT TO

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
02ABUJA33122002-12-13 16:10:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Abuja
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 003312 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
DEPT FOR AF AND S/ES 
 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: OVIP PROP PINS NI BUSH GEORGE
SUBJECT:  NIGERIA: SOME ISLAMIC CLERICS OBJECT TO 
POTUS VISIT 
 
Ref:  Abuja 3296 
 
 
¶1.  "Daily Trust," a Northern-oriented independent 
newspaper based in Abuja, December 11 published a page 
four article reporting the call by some Muslim clerics 
in far-northern Katsina that the Government of Nigeria 
cancel President Bush's visit if reports of an 
upcoming visit are true. 
 
 
¶2.  Begin Text: 
 
 
You are not welcome, Muslim clerics tell Bush 
 
 
From Abdu Labaran, in Katsina 
 
 
As the rumours of the impending visit of the American 
President, George W. Bush, continue to make the 
rounds, a groundswell of opposition to the visit is 
already building up with Muslim clerics in Katsina 
State telling the American number one citizen to stay 
away from Nigeria as he is not welcome. 
 
 
Uztaz Khalid Yunus and Ustaz AbdulBasir Unguwar Kawo 
Kankara, two firebrand clerics of the Izalatul Bid'a 
wa Ikamatus Sunna (Izala) Movement, expressed their 
opposition to the visit in separate interviews with 
Daily Trust, asserting that the American president's 
visit to Nigeria will not benefit the country in any 
way. 
 
 
The clerics maintained that the visit "far from doing 
any good to Nigerians will only further expose us to 
more hardship as our meager resources will be 
committed to hosting the visitor and his entourage, in 
addition to the visit sending the wrong signal to the 
Islamic and peace-loving communities that Nigeria not 
only supports but endorses America's gang up policy 
against weaker nations and its global anti-Islam 
agenda." 
 
 
Ustaz Khalid Yunus, who only last week Friday led a 
moving prayer (Al-Qunut) that lasted for up to 20 
minutes after the Juma'at prayer, viewed the visit as 
a bad omen to Nigeria, expressing the believe (sic) 
that nothing will bring the American president to 
Nigeria if there is nothing in the visit for his 
country. 
 
 
"As far as American leadership is concerned, there is 
only one interest and one world view; which is 
America," he stated, saying that to expect President 
Bush to come to Nigeria in the interest of Nigeria is 
simply foolhardy as, according to him, the American 
government does not think much of our country given 
the treatment meted out to Nigerians visiting the US. 
 
 
Calling on the Federal Government to call off the 
visit if it is true, he asserted that the visit will 
not benefit Nigeria since the several visits to 
America by President Obasanjo have not helped Nigeria 
or Nigerians. 
 
 
Ustaz AbdulBasir, who also led in a special prayer 
(Salatul Haja) on Saturday at Kofar Kaura Mosque where 
the US, Britain and Israel were the target of the 
prayer and special lecture, condemned the American 
president's proposed visit to Nigeria, describing the 
motive behind the visit as suspect. 
 
 
He alleged that the motive of President Bush's visit 
to Nigeria may not be unconnected with his 
government's desire to drum up support for its 
aggression against Saddam's Iraq and Israel's 
aggression against Palestinians and their government 
as well as America's thirst for Nigeria's crude oil. 
 
 
Vowing to intensify prayers in mosques, he called on 
Nigerians of all religions and the National Assembly 
to prevail on President Obasanjo not to welcome the 
American president and his entourage. 
 
 
END TEXT. 
 
 
¶3.  Katsina is home to a particularly conservative 
element of Muslim society and a small but growing 
number of militant fundamentalists. Its  border with 
Niger permits easy interaction with extremists based 
in that country (see also reftel).  The attitudes 
expressed in the article will find some resonance 
among like-minded opponents of secular government 
generally and the West (especially the U.S.) 
particularly.  However, a solid majority of Nigerian 
Muslims would welcome a visit by President Bush. 
The Embassy will continue to monitor media and other 
sources for echoes of this article. 
 
 
JETER