The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said he is a pragmatic muslim, who does not hold extremist views nor maintain rigid stances on issues.
Pantami, who spoke in a Ramadan lecture at An-Nur Mosque in Abuja, amid social media campaign that he resign as a minister and an erroneous report that he has been placed on America’s watchlist for links with Boko Haram, said he regretted some controversial comments he made supporting Al Qaeda and Taliban, saying he was a teenager when he made such utterances.
While answering questions during his daily Ramadan lecture on Saturday, said for 15 years, he have moved round the country educating people about the dangers of terrorism.
“I have engaged those with Boko Haram ideologies in different places. I have been writing pamphlets in Hausa, English and Arabic. I have managed to bring back several young persons who have derailed from the right path.”
The minister added that some of the comments he made some years ago that were generating controversies now were based on his understanding of religious issues at the time, and that he had changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity.
According to him, he was young when he made some of the comments; as he was in university, and that some of the comments were made when he was a teenager.
“On the claim that I am a Boko Haram sympathiser, I want to say that people who have been following my religious evangelism, as a scholar, dating back from 2005 and 2006, know me better. They know what I often preached about,” he said.
Pantami said that though some of the media attacks on him were motivated by political and economic reasons, he would not be perturbed.
He further noted that he has never been fixated on issues, but rather changes his stance immediately he discovers that his viewpoints and verdicts on such issues are wrong.
“I have changed my stance on some issues based on additional facts even after expressing Fatwa, a non-binding religious opinion in response to a question posed to me.”
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