The attention of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria has been drawn to a piece titled, “Nigeria’s Treatment of Shia Minority Recalls That of Boko Haram,” written by a former American Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, posted on the website of the American think-tank organisation, the Council on Foreign Relations, which gained wide coverage in Nigeria’s media.
The former Ambassador drew similarities between the dreaded Boko Haram and the Islamic Movement, under the able leadership of our illegally detained Leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky.
The need to issue this press statement becomes imperative in view of the deliberate blackmail, witch-hunt and mischief inherently contained in the write up.
His assertion that, “advocacy of violence aside, there are striking ideological similarities between IMN and Boko Haram, at least for outside observers” is most unfortunate. His claim that, “both see the secular state as evil, both want an Islamic state based on Islamic law, and both want the end to Western influence, including in education”, is grossly misleading. Equally mischievous was his summation that, “both also seek the end of northern Nigeria’s traditional political and religious elite. For IMN, the model appears to be the aspirations of the post-revolutionary Iranian Islamic state. Boko Haram’s vision appears more nebulous and less developed, but both try to function as a state-within-state.”
For the records, we and Boko Haram are clearly poles apart. As Sheikh Zakzaky himself repeatedly pointed out, Boko Haram is the creation of the oil hungry West; a claim Ambassador Campbell erroneously claimed is implausible. However, it is on record that the equally dreaded ISIS organization wreaking havoc in the middle east, to which Boko Haram gives its allegiance, is the creation of the US.
Hence to claim that Boko Haram wants, “an Islamic state based on Islamic law,” and the end to Western influence, including in education and also seek the end of northern Nigeria’s traditional political and religious elite, is superfluous to say the least. It is however clear to all that Islam as a state religion was not established by the holy Prophet Muhammad through terroristic activities to which all these western created groups are known today.
Boko Haram simply sprang up, hitherto unknown to anybody as to its teachings, schools and media and started terrorizing people. On the contrary, the Islamic Movement is a mass movement and its leader, Sheikh Zakzaky has been calling for inter and intra-faith unity, tolerance and peace for decades. He is reputed to have sheltered and protected Christians in Gyallesu, Zaria during post 2011 election violence. He always adds his voice for the oppressed irrespective of their religion or region or any other geographical or social divisions whatsoever!
We therefore view any attempt to compare the Islamic Movement, which has been in existence for the past four decades, with Boko Haram as a subtle but malicious attempt to tarnish our image and pave way for further violent suppression against us.
The former Ambassador should have stated the whole truth. The naked truth is that the federal government decided to suppress the Islamic Movement on the behest of Saudi Arabia, an agent and ally of the West, killing over a thousand civilian souls and destroying properties worth billions of Naira in its wreak.
The Islamic Movement is rightly demanding for justice to the victims of these state sponsored terrorism, starting with the unconditional release of Sheikh Zakzaky, his wife and all the others under detention since the Zaria pogrom of December 2015.
On these we will not blink, nor falter. The general public and the international community should particularly note that we have been unduly oppressed by this Buhari regime like none before it, and must be made to take responsibility for its actions. It is now 882 days that our leader has been languishing in detention despite a valid court order to free him, and everybody knows justice delayed is justice denied.
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM OF THE ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IN NIGERIA