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  Updated: July 30, 2007

Attack on Shi'as in Nigeria

By: Fahim Afshar

SOKOTO, Nigeria: Following the killing of Mal. Umar Dan Maishiyya in Sokoto State of Nigeria, which led to the arrest of some members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, the tense climate has been used to give an entirely different perception of the people.

The perception given by media reports which repeatedly suggest that a clash between Sunni and Shia groups in Sokoto led to the death of a cleric. Another report suggests that Members of the Islamic Movement are the prime suspects, thereby deliberately making the whole issue a religious crisis between two religious groups. The previous BBC reports allege that a Muslim cleric was shot by unidentified men on his way home from mosque after late evening prayers. The report of his death then was not confirmed.

Before that event, it was confirmed that on Tuesday the penultimate week Dan Maishiyya was killed, a group of people who were suspected to be among his followers, stopped him while riding on motor bike and gave him a dirty slap on his face. Their grudge being his lack of concern towards their plight while in detention in 2005. However, the killing by gunshot of Dan Maishiya can not be traced to his former disciples.

In 2005 orchestrated attack was launched by hoodlums under the protection of the Nigerian Policemen against Members of the Islamic Movement in Sokoto. The reason being a false allegation that the Members of the Islamic Movement were planning to take over the Sultan Juma'a Mosque. This senseless act of gangsterism led to the lost of six innocent lives of the members of the Islamic Movement. In addition to destruction of landed properties belonging to the members of the Islamic Movement.

As a matter of principle the members of the Islamic Movement refused to be an instrument in the hands of tyrannical, insensitive and irresponsible political figureheads.

This make the members of the Islamic Movement enjoy a grassroots support from the masses. In a desperate move to have some measure of political relevance, some court jesters and political prostitute dressed as Ulema take it upon themselves to launch an unprovoked attack against anything that represent Islamic Movement.

Known to be one of the instruments used by the Government to attack members of the Islamic Movement and their ideals, Dan Maishiyya might have felt that his reward from the Government should go beyond a mere handout. There after one thing led to the other and Dan maishiyya started to openly attack the state government particularly its appointment to political offices. Not long after, his life was lost in the hands of yet to be identified assassins.

Similar event occurred in Kano, in which a cleric, Sheikh Jafar Adam was killed while leading Morning Prayer is his Mosque. Of course the attempt to link the killing to some religious group failed, probably due to the tense political atmosphere prevailing during that election period. Dan Maishiyya was killed under a similar circumstance, the only difference being the later was killed while leading the prayer. Up to now, those
responsible for his killing are yet to be identified.

Political assassination in Nigeria has become a common place thus; killing of Dan Maishiyya may not be unconnected to some political motives. Therefore linking such a killing to any religious group or Muslim brothers whom have always been the victims of aggression by Government agents and instigated mob is, to say the least, a blatant hoax.

Once again the Government's inability or rather unwillingness to protect the lives and properties of the citizens became clear. And in its frantic move to save its face the government resort to unprovoked attack of the members of the Islamic Movement as a diversionary tactic.

In an interview with BBC Hausa Service the State Police Commissioner tried to justify their senseless attack where he mentioned that they went to the Members of the Islamic Movement to invite them for a chat but only to be attacked. Nothing could be further from the truth. In this age of communication a phone call should suffice. To make it more formal a letter of invitation from Police Commissioner should have been sent. One wonders what kind of invitation is that which warrant deployment of military and
combat ready detachment of police force to unarmed civilians. How can so many people be suspected of killing one man?

The Sokoto state Government made it part of its campaign promise to check what they called the spread of Shi'ism in Sokoto state. Events as they are unfolding now go to show that the Sokoto State government is determined to fulfill that promise. The direct involvement of the Military in this act of persecution lends credence to the fact that the Federal Government is as guilty as the State Government. Who knows the Federal
Government might be nursing a nationwide clandestine attack on Islamic Movement in Nigeria, but decided to use Sokoto as a testing ground?

Under the Constitution of the Federal Government of Nigeria to which the state Government is part of, which law makes Shi'ism or being a Shia a crime punishable with act of barbarism?

Under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, every suspect is innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Moreover, the burden of proof in the circumstance is on the Government, not members of the Islamic Movement.

The Nigerian Police arrested more than 100 Members of Islamic Movement without arrest warrant and continued to keep them in detention without being charged to Court for more than 24 hours, this is unlawful. In addition to the brutal killing of morethan five members of the Islamic Movement, by combined team of combat ready military and policemen. Among those killed by live bullets includes brother Husain Aliyu Mala and Aliyu Sistem Hungumawa, while the rest yet to be identified. Pitiless act of incindiarism, the government is thereby guilty of violation of the laws of the land to which they swore to protect. How should the criteria for the arrest be one's religious views?

For almost three decades the Members of the Islamic Movement are never known to use arms in preaching. They trade with ideas and the best way to get an idea across is through verbal means. Persuasion. Discourse. Logic. Only person bereft of ideas resort to violence.

Therefore arrest of Members of the Movement should stop and those arrested illegally should be released with immediate effect.

Never in history were we distracted by socially misplaced, psychologically confused, mentally derailed schizophrenics. We have been focused and we are determining to remain focus. Our mission is to bring back our already degenerated, unAllah and Anti Allah society back to Siratal Mustaqeem. In this we are fully aware that this is never and will never be a tea party. There are sacrifices to be made. And nothing will be too precious for us to sacrifice. Our lives inclusive. Blackmail, intimidation and victimization being meted on us are milestones pointing to the right direction. It has happened to prophets and exalted messengers of God, thus we cannot be an exception. Our humble prayer to God is for Him to shower un to us dogged determination till we attain our objective or die trying to. If either of these should happen we are fulfilled Alhamdu lillah.    


 
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