The Al-Thaqalayn Cultural Foundation, a Shi’ite organization based in Kaduna state, has warned Saudi Arabia and Iran not to turn Nigeria into a war zone following the proscription of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria aka Shi’ites by the Federal government.
Iran and Saudi Arabia have been sympathetic to the plights of Shiites in Nigeria. Muslims in both countries have staged protests at some point demanding the release of detained leader of the group, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky,
Addressing a press conference in Kaduna today July 30th, the Secretary-General of Al-Thaqalayn, Sheikh Hamza Lawal, said the Islamic Movement of Nigeria does not represent what Shiism is all about.
“We urge the Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia to desist from making Nigeria another testing ground of their struggle for regional supremacy. We cherish our peace. We don’t want Nigeria to become a theatre of war by these two arms of Islam. Saudi Arabia representing the Sunni arm and Iran representing the Shii arm. We don’t want internationalisation of the war on terror. We want the sovereignty of Nigeria to be protected.
We in Nigeria will be able to solve our problems internally. We don’t want any influence from either Iran or Saudi Arabia. Enough of the hypocrisy, selfishness and partisanship. We are all in this together and if Nigeria sinks, we will sink together and if it floats, we will all float together. So the Sunnis and the Shiite, have to as matter of necessity, not of a choice, agree on this common understanding that we don’t need Saudi Arabia politically. We don’t need Iran politically” he warned
Lawal accused El Zakzaky of hypocrisy saying he does not represent Shiism.
“I was a member of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) between 1981 and 2000 one year I returned home from Islamic Public of Iran where I had studied theology. IMN started in the late 1970s as a Socio-cultural and political-religious revivalist movement drawing its inspiration and taking its clue from essentially Sunni activism from countries like Egypt and Pakistan. It was an offshoot of Muslim students society.
When the leader of IMN, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky became a Shi’ite afterwards, he fell into the dilemma of either abandoning his Sunnite revivalist movement and risking the possibility of losing his followers or continuing with the movement with all the Sunni’s contents but with a Shi’ite face. He chose the latter and that has been his on-doing. Sheikh Zakzaky has not been able to complete his process of migration from Sunni activism to Shi’ite evangelism. His movement is a curious hybrid and hard mixture concoction, a dangerously unstable cocktail of incoherent and disorganised hallucinations and fantasies that only exist in their wildest dreams.
In fact, when critical study of IMN is done, it later turned out that it is much more closer to Sunni Islam. IMN is not another name for Shiism. The two are neither synonymous nor interchangeable. IMN is not a Shi’ite organisation. Yes, many of its recruits are Shi’ites, but, there are many others also who are Sunnis and Christians. It is a movement. Yes, some of its leaders appear to the public in regalia of Shi’ite clerics. But that is where it stops. IMN is not genuine. It is fake. It is a bad product and un-marketable one for that matter. IMN is the wrong advertisement copy. IMN has crashed the gate of Shiism. Intellectually and philosophically, he is not grounded in Shiism. He would have abandoned the struggle completely and become a completely new person. He should now change from activism to evangelism. But he has not been able to change up till now. So, this posture, this thing you see in the street of Abuja, Kaduna and all over the place, they are not Shiism. They are just a cover-up and a smokescreen for El-Zakzaky to continue to maintain his followership.
We at Al-Thaqalayn Cultural Foundation, feel undermined by the development. We also believed= that it is an embarrassment to our Shi’ite identity and credentials. A threat to our religion survival and a misrepresentation of what we are as Nigerian citizens who accept the rule of law” he stated