LONDON PRAYER TIME DAWN: 02:22 SUNRISE: 04:44 ZOHR:: 13:03 MAGHRIB: 21:37
Nigeria Muslims Pray for Peace
Bewildered with the recent Boko Haram and bombing attacks, Nigeria’s Sultan of Sokoto has invited prominent Muslims leaders from across the country to a national day of prayer for peace and to overcome security challenges.
The "National Muslims Prayers for Peace and Security in Nigeria" aims to help the country in "overcoming the current security challenges facing the country" a statement printed in several national newspapers said.
The invitation for prayers was extended by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar III, at the National Mosque in Abuja on Sunday, May 25.
The idea was first presented in an open letter to the Sultan written by Shehu Sani, a prominent northern rights activist and author who has been part of several past efforts to end Boko Haram's five-year deadly uprising through dialogue.
Sani said Nigeria's top Muslim scholar needed to do more to help secure the release of more than 200 schoolgirls held hostage by Boko Haram.
"Religious clerics particularly in the north should move beyond prayers and independently move further to reach out to the insurgents and amicably retrieve these girls via means that will guarantee their safe return," Sani wrote this week.
"The Chibok girls have guns on their heads and chains on their hands and we have a dangling sword of posterity hanging over our heads," he added.
Last month, Boko Haram came in the spotlight after kidnapping some 300 schoolgirls while being at school in the Chibok area of Borno state.
The abduction was widely condemned by world leaders and Islamic organizations, prompting international intervention to help rescue the kidnapped girls.
Last Tuesday, two consecutive explosions hit the crowded business streets of Jos, killing 118 people and injuring more than 45.
Although there were no immediate claim of responsibility of the attacks, Boko Haram is believed to be involved.
Another explosion at an Abuja popular car park earlier this year has claimed at least 72 lives and injured 134, according to official figures.
Sunday’s call to prayers has followed an earlier decision by the United Nations to impose sanctions on Boko Haram, blacklisting it as an Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organization.
The UN sanctions have followed similar moves by Nigeria, the United States and Britain.
Boko Haram, a Hausa term meaning "Western education is sinful", is loosely modeled on Afghanistan's Taliban.
The militant group says it is fighting enemies who have wronged its members through violence, arrests or economic neglect and corruption.
It has been blamed for a campaign of shootings and bombings against security forces and authorities in the north since 2009.
But recently, the sect has carried out attacks against Christians and Muslims alike.