Panelists in a special feature Roundtable organized by the Voice of America (VOA) in Abuja last weekend have condemned the handing of the crisis involving the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and advised the government to seek better ways of resolving the issue amicably rather than arbitrarily proscribing the Movement.
Our special reporter, Abdulmumin Giwa, was a side discussant at the event, and reports:
As part of its social development programs, the Voice of America organised a maiden round table meeting to discuss the plights of the Islamic Movement as well as accusations labelled against the Movement by some sections of the society.
Present at the event were among others, women activists, Political analysts, Christian leaders, Izala and Tijjaniyya followers as well as the Police.
The event which took place Saturday, was hosted by Aliyu Mustapha Sokoto and the Islamic Movement was represented by Alh Ibrahim Gamawa along with Abdulmumin Giwa and Barr Harun Magashi. Also in attendance was Dr Hafiz Muhammad, a Shiah scholar from the Haydar Center based in Abuja.
Questions bordering around false accusations and concoctions against the Islamic movement were addressed by bro Gamawa as raised by the panelists.
Alh Gamawa explained that as practitioners of the school of thought of the Ahl Bayt, no amount of pressure will deter them from the faith.
He warned intimidators celebrating the plight of the movement to stair clair and be wary of the fact that what goes around comes around reminding them that they could be the victims another day.
Both Barr Magashi and Abdulmumin Giwa from the Islamic movement, who were participants but not as panelists, were also given the chance to comment.
Commenting on the legality of staging protests, Barr Magashi explained that there is no law banning anybody from exercising the constitutional right of staging peaceful protest without police permission.
On his side, Abdulmumin Giwa recalled the incident of the Zaria massacre and the dehumanizing acts of mass murder and destruction labelled against the Movement by the Nigeria army, a memory that moved the entire participants.
Dr Hafiz called on the public to be fair enough to ask the Shiites about their faith and not concoct lies against the faith based on literatures that are not accepted even by Shiite scholars.
A member of the panel, Prof Umar Labdo, a renown antagonist of Shiism, was not able to defend a lot of allegations he labelled against the Shiites even as he shared some of the books he wrote castigating Shiism to those present at the event.
Alh Gamawa who described the books as the ‘Satanic Verses’ condemned Prof Labdo’s undue hatred and mistreatment of the Shiites.
Jafar Jafar, a media practitioner and online publisher, advised that the government licenses preachers a suggestion disagreed with by all those present.
Pastor Aminci, a Christian representative while speaking on the government’s inability to create harmonious coexistence among adherents of various religions in the country called on government at the federal level to take the issue of religion serious by appointing Special Advisers that will liaise with all the religious groups in the country without selection or segregation.
At the end of the gathering there was a general consensus that the government of the day has mistreated the Movement and its followers with most of the panelists not supporting the proscription of the Movement describing it as uncalled for and unwise. They advised the government to seek better ways of resolving the issue amicably.