‘Why Shiites are law-abiding Nigerian citizens’ Featured

Monday, 09 January 2017 00:00 Written by  Published in Interview Read 275 times
Members of various religious sects and security agencies at the meeting Members of various religious sects and security agencies at the meeting Adam Alqali

 

Barrister Haruna Magashi stated this in an intra-faith interactive peace meeting that brought together followers of various religious sects in Kano for discussions on peaceful coexistence.

 


A member of the controversial Ibrahim Zakzaky-led Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Barrister Haruna Magashi, has said contrary to belief that members of the group, who are largely Shiites are lawless, members of the movement are law abiding Nigerian citizens.

 

“We are truly law-abiding citizens,” said Magashi who was speaking during an intra-faith interactive peace meeting organized by the Interfaith Partners for Peace and Development (IPPD), a faith-based organization in the city of Kano recently with the support of Nexus Fund.

 

“Sheikh Zakzaky [IMN’s leader] has always told us to be law-abiding, as far as the law does not contradict Islamic law; there is no harm in obeying that law.”

 

He described Zakzaky as a proud Nigerian who always admonish his followers to represent the country well wherever they go, calling on the Nigerian security agencies to stop relying on rumors about the movement by reaching out to its members for clarification on issues.
“We are not ghosts, we are Nigerians, we live here, we have residences, offices, and phone contacts; we don’t live in another planet,” he said.

 

Tijjani Imam, chair of the Interfaith Partners for Peace and Development (IPPD), said the idea of the meeting was to bring together followers of various religious sects in Kano for discussions on peaceful
coexistence between members of the various sects in Islam, urging the media to stop aiding the spread of dangerous and hate speeches that are capable of breaching public peace.

 

“We are aiming at ending the crisis between religious sects and bringing about harmonious relationship between religious sects and security agencies. That is why we brought together leaders of the various religious groups including Tijjaniyya, Qadiriyya, Izala and Shiites to discuss with one another and fashion out ways of making their relationship with one another better towards achieving unity, peace and progress among the Muslim Ummah.

 

“On the other hand, we have invited members of the security agencies including the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and the Department of State Security Services (DSS) to also discuss with members of the various religious groups towards creating mutual understanding among them for peace and development in our society.”

 

Femi Sodipo, the country representative of Nexus Fund in Nigeria said the meeting was also aimed at “dispelling rumors and misconceptions” about followers of various religious sects towards achieving peace and
harmony in the society.

 

“We have representatives from the various religious sects who engaged in frank discussions. I am impressed by the good start and I hope this will give room for similar engagements in the future,” he said.

 

Forums like the one organized by the Interfaith Partners for Peace and Development (IPPD), are believed to be critical in bringing about mutual understanding among various religious sects in Kano as well as help come up with solutions to for the incessant clashes between followers of various religious sects, which are largely fuelled by rumors and misconceptions.

 

Moreover, against the backdrop of incessant clashes between religious sects like the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and the Nigerian security agencies, bringing religious leaders to a table
to discuss with members of the various security agencies will give room for all to get to understand each other and come up with modalities for achieving peace and sustainable development in the society.

 

Adam Alqali

Adam Alqali is an independent journalist whose stories have appeared
on africacheck.org, blueprint.ng andnewsdiaryonline.com. He can be
reached at aalqali@gmail.com