By Akinwale Kasali
This is not the best of time with Folarin Falana, popularly known as ‘Falz’. Son of the Human Right Activist, Femi Falana, SAN, is presently swimming in trouble waters over his recent song in which Islamic faithfuls were dancing with the Hijab which some Islamic groups says it is offensive to the religion.
The Muslim Rights Concern has said that by featuring hijab-clad women dancing Shaku Shaku in his latest video, Falz has offended Nigerian Muslims.
MURIC on Tuesday demanded that Nigerian rapper, Folarin Falana, popularly called Falz the Bahd Guy, withdraw his latest music video, This is Nigeria, or face legal action.
The Convener of MURIC, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, in a telephone conversation with our correspondent, reiterated that the “video was a slap on the face of Islamdom.”
Akintola said, “That video is provocative. That video depicts Muslim women dancing Shaku shaku.
“According to Falz, it represents the Chibok girls. [But] Chibok girls cannot be known to be dancing. They are despondent, they are in despair, they are frustrated. They have not been rescued. There are so many of them in captivity and all Nigerians are praying for them. So, how can they be dancing?
“So, it is ironical; it doesn’t represent reality. The video itself is a slap on Islamdom.”
The Professor of Islamic Eschatology added that MURIC chose to take the legal route, rather than the route of violence, so as not to further denigrate the name of Islam.
“Some Nigerians cannot just be taking things for granted. This country is fraudulent. Our Constitution contains freedom of religion but people don’t give us that respect.
“Even the people who are supposed to call defaulters to order pretend to be sleeping when Muslims are knocked on the head.
“And when lawless people go to the streets, using the name of Islam to destroy, to be violent, to beat up people, destroy houses, destroy government properties, to kill and maim, the media is happy that the name of Islam is being destroyed.
“We are against that. We are against violence. And that is why we are taking this guy to court. If he doesn’t withdraw that video and if he doesn’t apologise to Nigerians, especially the Nigerian Muslims.”
Asked if MURIC would speak with the rap artiste, Akintola reiterated that the Islamic organisation was not opposed to dialogue if Falz so wishes, but that MURIC would not call him first.
Akintola, however, restated the legal repercussions if Falz fails to accede to the organisation’s demands within seven days, starting on Tuesday (today).
MURIC had, earlier on Tuesday, issued a statement demanding that Falz withdraw his This is Nigeria video and to also tender an apology within seven days for using women wearing hijabs and dancing Shaku shaku.
The group also dragged the National Films and Videos Censors Board into the matter and hinted at a possible legal battle unless Falz withdraws the video and tenders an apology within seven days.
Falz has not responded to phone calls and a text message as of the time of filing this report.
See MURIC’s full statement below:
5th June, 2018
WITHDRAW FALZ ‘SHAKU SHAKU’ VIDEO WITHIN 7 DAYS
OR FACE LEGAL ACTION
Folarin Falana (Falz the Bahd Guy), a Nigerian artist, last week released a new song called ‘This is Nigeria’. The production featured a character that dressed like a Fulani man, who suddenly abandoned his traditional guitar and beheaded a man. It also portrayed women in hijab as choreographers dancing the ‘shaku-shaku’ (a dance associated with a drug-related song).
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly denounces the Shaku Shaku dance video. It is thoughtless, insensitive and highly provocative. It is a hate video. It is Islamophobia nulli secundus. This video has the potential of causing religious crisi of unprecedented dimension. We therefore demand its withdrawal and an apology to Nigerian Muslims within seven days or the authors and their agents will face legal action if they fail to comply.
The video manifests ethnic bias against Fulanis while it ignored the criminal activities of ethnic militia of the Middle Belt who have also massacred Fulanis and rustled their cattles in their thousands. This video has denigrated Islam, demonized Nigerian Muslims and subjected them to public opprobium.
MURIC rejects Falz’ explanation that the the girls in hijab in his ‘Shaku Shaku’ dance symbolize the Chibok girls because nothing in the video indicates that the girls represent the Chibok girls. At least none of the Chibok girls have been seen dancing like a drunkard. They are always in pensive mood. Do they have any cause to be dancing? Are they happy? This video is the mostdetestable, odious and insidious Islam-bashing in recent time.
Only the scenes portraying police brutality and the money-swallowing snake in the video are near the truth. Falz’ ‘Shaku Shaku’ video is nothing but a hate-induced production. It is a most unpatriotic handiwork of a Nigerian youth in 2018. Here is the work of a youth working towards turning Nigerians against each other; a youth inciting Nigerian Christians to hate their Muslim neighbours; a youth instigating Muslims to religious violence. This video is in bad taste. It is a hate video. It is an assault on the self-dignity of every Muslim. It is freedom of expression gone haywire.
We call the attention of security agencies to this hate action. The tragedy facing modern societies all over the world is their criminal complicity in Islam-bashing and their hypocritical accusation of Muslims of terrorism and religious violence. On the contrary, terrorism is mere smoke. Provocation, derision and injustice are the fires which cause terrorism. We reiterate our pontification that it is naïve for a fire fighter to ignore the fire and turn his hose at the smoke. The world is treating symptoms, leaving the real ailment to fester.
We remind Nigerians of the outcome of similar provocative actions in the past and their unpalatable outcomes. The violent reaction of Nigerian Muslims toFun Times magazine’s blasphemous story of December 1990 in which it was alleged that “Muhammad had an illicit affair with a woman of easy virtue according to the Qur’an and later married her” shook the country to its foundation. Isioma Daniel’s article, “The World at Their Feet” published inThisDay newspaper on Saturday, 16thNovember, 2002, drew the ire of Muslims across the length and breadth of Nigeria.
Violent demonstrations broke out in 2005 when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten’s published a cartoon in which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was depicted as a terrorist wearing a bomb-laden turban. In January 2015, Charlie Ebdo, the French satirical magazine used cartoons that were considered provocative by Muslims. Blood flowed on the streets of Paris.
We condemn violence and all acts of terrorism. But we do not share the opinion that freedom of expression can go to any length. Even Pope Francis has warned people not to insult the faith of others. He said, “It is normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faiths of others. You cannot make fun of the faiths of others. Freedom of speech and expression are fundamental human rights. However, there should be a limit to offending and ridiculing the faiths and beliefs of others.”
But has this advice been taken seriously? Nigerian Artistes have consistently proved that they are most willing to ignore the Pope’s advice. They provoke Muslims at the slightest opportunity. They have this habit of giving Muslim names to characters who play devilish, immoral and lowly roles in their films, e.g. Sikiratu Sindodo, Jelili Oniso, Basira Baseje, Osanle Modinat, Aminatu Pa-pa-pa are a few examples. Of recent, Muniru and Ambali play despicable roles of idiocy.
The idea behind this is to make Muslims feel ashamed of the ordinary Muslim name. It is inhuman, despicable and bully-motivated. MURIC will defend the Muslim name with every legitimate tool at its disposal.
There is no gainsaying the fact that a culture of impunity pervades the arts in Nigeria. The National Film And Video Censors Board (NFVCB), a regulatory agency set up by Act No. 85 of 1993 to regulate films and the video industry has a case to answer. ‘Shaku Shaku’ video was shot and released under its watch. What is its alucutus. What will it say if Muslims elect to go violent over this primitive, irresponsible and reckless production? What will it say if hundreds of lives and properties worth billions of dollars are lost in the ensuing violence due to its negligence?
As we round up, MURIC warns Nigerian artists to stop giving Muslim names to devilish and lowly characters. We appeal to Muslims all over the country to simmer down. Let us adopt a civilized approach to ‘Shaku Shaku’ and teach agents provocateur some lessons in respect for human feelings. Instead of going violent, Nigerian Muslims should take those behind the ‘Shaku Shaku’ video to court in order to serve as a deterrent to others.
We therefore give notice of impending legal action against the artist behind the ‘Shaku Shaku’ video unless the latter is withdrawn and an apology is widely published within seven days.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)