Following the controversy trailing the alleged forceful conversion to Islam and forced marriage of a teenager, Habiba Isa, the Katsina state branch of an Islamic group, Jama’atu Izalatil Bidah wa Iqamatis Sunnah (JIBWIS) has stated that the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumuni Usman, was not the one who married the 14-year-old girl.
The group made this known at a press conference in Katsina on Tuesday, adding that Isa’s husband is “a young man called Jamilu Lawal“. Lawal was the one alleged to have abducted the girl and forcefully converted her to Islam.
The police in Katsina had earlier distanced itself from the said marriage, and advised the girl to go back home. It also stated that Lawal who was arrested following a petition from a civil society organisation, was released because there was no proof that he forcefully converted Isa to Islam.
The teenager, while in the palace of the Emir was reported to have responded that she was neither forcefully converted to Islam nor was forced into marriage.
The group, which spoke through its chairman, Sheikh Yakubu Hassan, cautioned against people dragging the name of the royal father into the controversy.
“The allegations recently made by Christian leaders in the state that the Emir of Katsina forcefully converted an underage Christian girl, Habiba Isa, to Islam and then married her is an insult to Muslims and a deliberate attempt to pollute the peaceful atmosphere that the community enjoys in the state. JIBWIS has all the evidence that Habiba (Isa) is an adult and was neither forced to become Muslim nor to marry Lawal.
The Emir as a father to all Muslims in the Emirate only endorsed the marriage of Habiba to a young man she chose for herself, and that is one of the functions of Muslim leaders in Islam. It will therefore be a mistake for Christian leaders in the state to connive with outside forces in trading false allegations against such leaders,” he said.
Hassan, citing some documents, maintained that Isa was born on July 20, 1999, as against October 15, 2001, being given as her date of birth.
“In Islam, it is an act of infidelity to force one to a religion. The constitution of the country is, however, in support of any Nigerian who decides to adopt a faith on his or her own wish,” Hassan added.