EXCLUSIVE WITH ISLAMIC MOVEMENT OF NIGERIA
Islamic Insights was able to speak to a representative of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), the President of the Media Forum, Shaykh Ibrahim Musa. Please read on for this exclusive and for a chance to participate in the ongoing battle for justice for Shaykh Zakzaky.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF IMN AND ITS FOUNDER
“About the Islamic movement, it is a movement started by Shaykh Ibrahim Yaqoub al-Zazaky almost four decades ago. He has been the leader and he is still the leader of the movement. As you can see from the name, ‘Islamic movement,’ it is an movement that aims to make sure Muslims practice islam as revealed by Allah to His Prophet and His progeny, the AhlulBayt (as). We have been doing educational programs, like wilidah of the Aimmah (birthdays of the Imams), we do tafaseer (exegisis of the Qur’an), we read Nahj ul Balagha (sayings of Imam Ali (as)) and any other things to upgrade ourselves educationally. This has been the major problem we have been having with authorities for all those years.”
CLASHES WITH THE GOVERNMENT
“Since the inception of the movement, we have been having clashes with the authorities. In fact, Shaykh Zazaky himself has been imprisoned nine times in different years. The main accusation against him has been that of disregarding authorities and government. The last charge of 1996 was that Shaykh Zazaky had said that ‘there is no authority except that of Allah,’ (and) that he’s trying to create a similar Islamic revolution on the path of Imam Khomeini. The court at that time, in 1998, acuqited him of all the charges.”
“They (trekkers from Kanu, about 175 KM from Zaria) started their journey peacefully, by the side of the main highway. They were not obstructing any free flow of motorists, unlike what the commissioner said. But then, along the way, the police blocked the road, fired open tear gas on the trekkers, (and) later on saw the number of people was too much for them, they opened fire on them. In fact, we don’t have a clear figure of those killed, but we believe they might reach up to a hundred. Because when they started shooting, the members dispersed, some went into the bush and some died in the bush(es), we are still counting our losses. But, several were injured. However, there is a definite figure that about 50 members of IMN have been arrested by the police in Kanu. This is a symbolic trek, allowing members to feel how the progeny of the Prophet (s) was made to trek from Karbala to Damascus. The members are trying to feel the agony and to feel the love for the Prophet’s household. Last year was one of the largest gatherings to happen in Nigeria, ever. Millions of people trekked from various places in Nigeria to Zaria to hear the speech of Shaykh Zakzaky on Arba’een (the fortieth day of mourning commemorating the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (as)). People are becoming clear (gaining clarity) for what the movement stands for…So, they (the police) think they should stop this kind of da’wah (spreading Islam), because this trek is a da’wah in itself.”
Pictured: Shaykh Zazaky with his sons who were martyred in clashes with Nigerian authorities.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF SHAYKH ZAKZAKY, TODAY
“Shaykh Zakzaky has been the leader since the inception of the movement, so anything that happens to him will have disastrous consequences on the movement, but alhamdulillah (all praises due to God), the shaykh himself, and we also his followers, know that it is part of the tribulations in the path of Allah that you will be incarcerated, you will get killed, your properties will be destroyed by the tyranny of the time, so what happened last year, we considered this a milestone in the path of the movement towards glory insha’Allah (God-willing), and we are grateful to Allah that He has spared the life of the shaykh and we believe with the dua’a (supplication) we are doing daily, not only here in Nigeria, but all over the Shia world, and the Muslim world in general, we believe insha’Allah, success will come to our way very soon.”
HOWEVER, SHAYKH MUSA ADDED:
“The shaykh has been shot in several places and it has been confirmed to us, he has lost his left eye. His right eye is also in need of medical attention. He has also lost some part of his limb, as per his last visit, [his family] said he is recuperating very well. He is also together with his wife, she was also shot in her abdomen. In fact, there is still a bullet lodged in her abdomen, so what I’m trying to say is that the shaykh is really in need of medical attention. So far, we haven’t seen any sign of [his release].”
“We have taken his case to a federal high court and as for the last month, the court said it is going to rule on the 25th of November, 2016 on our application for the enforcement of his (Shaykh Zazaky) fundamental human rights. We are expecting a favorable ruling, that he should be released because since December 12th, 2015, to date, the government has not charged him of any criminal offense…We believe they should allow him to go.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Firstly, supplication is the weapon of the believer, a tradition popularly attributed to the Prophet of Islam, Prophet Mohammed (s). Pray that on November 25th, 2016, Shaykh Zakzaky is acquitted of all charges and he and his wife (who is held in custody with him) are promptly released. Secondly, calls for a national day of protesting to commemorate the day of the massacre which led to Shaykh Zakzaky’s arrest have been made by Muslim organizations in the United States for December 12th, 2016. Check with your local center and participate or organize efforts to protest in unity.
You can keep up with IMN’s updates at http://islamicmovement.org/