There have been waves of media campaigns in the last few days being championed by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) maligning the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and its leadership, reminiscent of December 2015 after the heinous crime of genocide and mass graves committed by government and its agents.
The climax was the live television program on NTA Tuesday Live discussion on the topic: “IMN and National Security” by two featured guests that have been posing and parading as “genuine, non-IMN” Shia adherents in Nigeria.
These two “Shia experts” together laboured, as they were instructed, to define the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and distance it from Shi’ism. One went as far as exposing who his sponsors really are, when he said the “terrorist” activities of the Movement was what made him leave the Islamic Movement, which he proudly claimed membership of in the early years of IMN existence. He expectedly however, failed to point out a single act of terror attack executed by the Islamic Movement.
Incidentally, same day, there was a press statement by a conglomeration of groups of these Shia experts called Shia Muslims Association of Nigeria (SHIMAN), all singing the same song as their constituents.
Before all these, there was also a press conference in Kaduna, addressed by one of these experts that first sang the same song as their main sponsor had been singing all these years since that infamous heinous crime of December 2015 in Zaria, when their sponsors massacred over a thousand people within a weekend and secretly buried in mass grave at night some 100 kilometres away from the crime site.
But for the sake of sieving the chaff from the grains, this write up would have been highly unnecessary. It is very important however, to let Islamic Movement in Nigeria define itself. Enemies of the Movement cannot correctly or fairly define the Movement.
This is because one of them, Hamza Lawal, had previously failed woefully to create division within the ranks of the Islamic Movement in the past, especially after the Abacha clampdown, when he suddenly abandoned his study in Iran and returned with a mission. At that time, he rushed back following the arrest of Sheikh Zakzaky then to assume the mantle of leadership of the Islamic Movement. He thought to himself that he could cement a place for himself as the leader. He told some very close members then that Ayatollah Tashkiri had sent him to take charge. When that would not do, he tried to bring about a division by claiming that the Islamic Movement was not sufficiently schooled in Shi’i theology, therefore it was only him who was knowledgeable enough to teach and lead. By that, he sought to lure away members of the Islamic Movement. He tried to form a faction, but people saw through his treachery. Older members could still remember when in the early days as a member, he couldn’t read the Arabic alphabets and had to be taught by Sheikh. They could remember when he was being told to repay the prayers he had skipped before he became member of the Islamic Movement, but he was refusing, saying that it was only at that time he became a Muslim!
When he couldn’t break the Islamic Movement, and having been exposed (especially during an event marking the anniversary of the Funtua Declaration), he decided to keep off from the Movement.
With that background, the Kaduna state government enrolled him into the plots to see to the end of the Islamic Movement. Mr Hamza Lawal knew of the Zaria massacre at least three days before it was carried out. He was also physically in the vicinity of the attacks in 2016 of the Arba’een trek from Kano, and he witnessed the killings, which the Kano state governor, Umar Abdullahi Ganduje confessed to making an order for its execution.
Mr Hamza lawal tried in vain to deceive members of the Islamic Movement into appearing before the Kangaroo Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by his sponsors, the Kaduna state government. He attended the JCI and his submission portrayed someone with internal contradictions typical of people with split minds.
Since then, he has been used by the government against the Islamic Movement. The hallmark of which was when he met the Vice President, Yomi Osibanjo at Aso rock. He has also attended several Kaduna state “security meetings” and even the National security meeting as expert against the Islamic Movement. In turn, the government, especially the Kaduna state governor, has been supporting, promoting and projecting Hamza Lawal and his Al-Thaqalayn Cultural Foundation.
Mr. Hamza is widely known to be on the payroll of the government. Like the other so-called “True Shi’ites,” Mr Hamza lawal has been hovering around the corridors of power for too long, like a vulture over a carcass.
Attempts by Hamza Lawal at infiltrating and/or diverting the campaign to make it look chaotic has been long standing and had proved largely abortive. In the same vein, there have been numerous self-acclaimed genuine Shi’ites, who have also been in the corridors of power for a while and who are also on their payroll with a mission to distract attention and cause confusion. They are known and referred to by various names as; Shia traitors, Commercial Shia, Celebrity Shi’ah, Shi’ah for dollars and so on.
When in 2015 government massacred members of the Islamic Movement, they celebrated and rushed to form another organization called SHIMAN to be an umbrella organization to finalize the “burial of IMN” with government support, so as to deceive the public into believing that Shi’ites are not the target. These same government-created “Shia-groups” were again the ones who earlier this year came out to endorse Buhari for another term.
Notwithstanding all these, the Islamic Movement didn’t find them worthy of being dignified with a separate response to their rants. They are all a distraction not worth the time of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
One thing is for sure however, and that is that enemies can never ever define the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
Some little information about the Islamic Movement in Nigeria
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria is a broad-based mass organisation based in Zaria, the major city of the Kaduna state, founded in the late 1970s as a student movement. It has grown to have adherents in all parts of the country and beyond.
The mission of the Islamic Movement is to create a community that is called to be witness for truth and to be witness for all humankind, reconstructing a nation, inviting to all that is good, enjoining best practices and forbidding bad, that we may be successful and pleased in the Lord; and the Lord pleased with us.
Since its establishment, it has grown into a social and religious movement with supporters and members of all ages and from all religious affiliations. Islam, being a total religion, would also make an Islamic Movement to be total in its outlook, not limited to the narrow narrative of merely conducting rituals.
The Islamic Movement, being a faith-based Movement, doesn’t have any formal organizational structures and does not keep a membership register. Being a community based outfit, it necessarily has utility bodies and organs that serve the community such as schools and foundations. These foundations and schools are duly registered with relevant governmental or national/regional regulatory authorities, and pay all due fees, taxes or levies.
Today, estimates say the Movement enjoys the support of millions of people across Nigeria. Although the Movement has its base in Shi’ah School of thought and most of its activities, observances and practices are Shi’ah-inspired, it enjoys a great deal of acceptance from both Sunni and Shia schools of thought as well as some Christian sympathisers, because of the universality of the mission of the Islamic Movement and it expansive global outlook.
This may be a direct result of the remarkable inter and intra-faiths activities of the Movement, such as the Annual Unity Week held in the Muslim month of Rabi’ul Awwal, the birth month of the Prophet (S), during which scholars from every school of thought are brought together to discuss issues of Muslim Unity and peaceful coexistence. This had gone on for more than a decade before the Zaria incident. Christian-Muslim dialogue was also initiated by the Movement that saw Muslims belonging to the Islamic Movement provide protection to Christians and other minority tribes during ethno-religious crises and also visit churches to felicitate with Christians during their festivities and they reciprocate. Sheikh Zakzaky is one of the founding Trustees of the Christians-Muslims Alternative to Conflict (CMAC), a registered Nongovernmental Organization based in Kaduna along with retired Archbishop Peter Jatau and Prof Babayo.
This has greatly improved Christian-Muslim relationship, reduced tension and fostered peace in the society. It is a direct effect of that we have increasingly seen members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria join Christian faithful to felicitate with Christian friends and neighbours, and in the process sang songs eulogizing Jesus. The Church congregation goes to ecstasy on hearing the Muslims talk of the return of Jesus.
Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria join Christian faithful to felicitate with Christian friends and neighbours in Kaduna
Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria join Christian faithful in Church to felicitate with Christian friends and neighbours in Kaduna
Sheikh Zakzaky once received a letter of commendation from Kaduna State government signed by the then Military Governor, Lt Col Lawal Jafaru Isa, for promoting peace among communities in Kaduna state.
The Islamic Movement offers humanitarian services to communities in which it exists. Some notable ones include being the largest single voluntary blood donor group. The National Blood Transfusion Services had on at least two occasions issued the Movement with a certificate of commendation to that effect.
Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria embark on a nationwide voluntary blood donation campaign
The National Blood Transfusion Services had on several occasions declared the Islamic Movement as the single most important group when it comes to voluntary blood donation campaign
Similarly, the National Primary Health Development Agency had issued the Movement with a certificate of appreciation for the Movement’s indefatigable role in ensuring the success of the National Immunization campaigns across the North at a time when there was a general apathy. The name of the Islamic Movement would be written in gold when it comes to the Polio eradication in the country because of their immense contributions to making Nigeria polio-free.