Pantami recants views on Al-Qaeda, insists he does not support terrorism - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

Pantami recants views on Al-Qaeda, insists he does not support terrorism

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By Our Correspondent


Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, has disowned his earlier views on terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda which have been generating controversy.

Speaking at a Ramadan lecture on Saturday, the minister said the comments in support of the terrorists were made when he was young and had not fully understood the issues involved.

In videos from the 2000s, Pantami, who is a known Islamic scholar, was reported to have said that while he was against the extremist anti-western ideologies of Boko Haram, he supports some of what Al-Qaeda and Taliban had preached.

But at the Ramadan lecture in Abuja, Leadership newspaper quoted the minister as saying that his position at the time was based on his understanding as a teenager.

He insisted he has converted several young persons who “have derailed from the right path” in his teachings against the Boko Haram insurgents.

He said: “For 15 years, I have moved around the country while educating people about the dangers of terrorism. I have travelled to Katsina, Gombe, Borno, Kano states and Difa in Niger Republic to preach against 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.

“Some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time, and I have changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity.

“I was young when I made some of the comments; I was in university, some of the comments were made when I was a teenager. I started preaching when I was 13, many scholars and individuals did not understand some of the international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later.”