The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has asked governors of the south-west states to rebrand Amotekun, saying it has biblical undertones.
The Western Nigeria Security Network is code-named Amotekun, the Yoruba word for leopard.
But, in a statement on Monday, Ishaq Akintola, MURIC’s director, said Amotekun has its origin in the Bible and it would be impossible for Muslims to be a part of it.
“Jeremiah 5:6 says, ‘A leopard shall guard over their city’. Amotekun is mentioned in this verse with particular reference to guarding a city. Now, we have a sub-region where Muslims have been under persecution for ages coming up with a security outfit under the name of the same leopard mentioned in the bible as a guard over the city,” he said.
“This is not a coincidence. The handlers of Amotekun picked the name deliberately from the bible in order to score a spiritual point. It is very critical. It calls for serious concern. So why give a security unit a religious name?
“We advise the planners of the new security outfit to give it another name in the interest of peace and harmony in the sub-region. This is necessary if they want to carry all stakeholders along. Amotekun as a name is already controversial. We do not need a Christian security unit. Neither do we need a Muslim security outfit. The security agency in the South West must not only be neutral, it must also be seen to be neutral.
“We affirm that Muslims form the majority in the population of the south-west. They are therefore critical stakeholders and the unity of the Yoruba cannot become fait accompli without involving the Muslims in the sub-region. Muslims must be carried along in any security network in the zone. We are interested in security. We are security conscious.
“We will therefore join a South West security initiative if it is not tainted with Christian landmarks. We will have confidence in a security outfit that involves Muslim leaders, not one that parades pastors, bishops and archbishops alone.
“It must also be noted that a security group that starts with subtle threats to our brethren in faith in another part of the country cannot be safe for Muslims in Yorubaland. There is no racism or tribalism in Islam (Qur’an 49:13). It is a global brotherhood. Yoruba Muslims love Yorubaland. They also love Nigeria. But they owe their Creator, Allah, an unflinching and undiluted love towards their brothers and sisters in Islam no matter their race, tribe or colour.”
Akintola had earlier had accused governors of the south-west of recruiting only Christians into Amotekun which he had described as a militia.