By Gimba Kakanda
Saudi Arabia is a recent invention, it has no place in Islam. It’s a purely political space salvaged by the British colonialists from the old Ottoman Empire. And just just like Nigeria, it’s perpetually in pursuit of ways to expand its revenues and protect its political capitals. The fact that the holy sites in Makkah and Madinah happen to be in its territory does not in any way make the country sacred.
Our mistake in Nigeria over the years has been attributing a certain sacredness to this ambition of the House of Saud, developing a mindset that considers all Saudi cities or everything Saudi sacred, all Arabs superior to us and even Arabic elevated to a certain sacredness that every text in Arabic is seen as sacred.
I once threw an Arabic newspaper into the bin, a neighborhood busybody rushed to call my attention to that. When I explained what it was, he insisted Arabic as a language is sacred and so is the text. That everything written in Arabic is sacred. I asked him whether he considered porn magazines written in Arabic sacred and deserving of his reverence. He was confused. Awaal Gata was there, and he also knows the fellow, who unfortunately was a Qur’anic school teacher in that neighborhood, tasked with teaching our innocent kids this nonsense.
Yesterday I teased that Nigerians haven’t started protesting Saudi’s hosting of a music concert, intended to be an IQ test on whether in fact we are aware Saudi Arabia is just a people-killing country like any other, despite its dubious religious posturing. I was wrong. They have already, that Saudi is the custodian of the holy sites, as if that is happening in those sites, as if that dissolves Saudi Arabia’s existence as a political space, as if, if the Al-Sauds had not captured Jeddah and Riyadh too, where the concerts are taking place, they wouldn’t have existed as independent entities and possibly secular, entirely unislamic or ideologically averse to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi itself has, over the years, manipulated this perception of its politics as representation of Islam. This is how gullible Muslims get to take their side in purely political conflicts with Iran, Yemen or the United States. Even those who have not condemned Saudi Arabia’s bombings and killings of innocent Yemenis in their country are already out to condemn its decisions to host a concert, citing its sacredness, the same sacredness that isn’t applied in killing the Yemenis.