Sheikh Zakzaky: U.S. and Israel behind continuing crime of detention?
Sheikh Zakzaky has spoken out against the injustices perpetrated by the United States and has accused Washington of spreading discord among Muslims, and has condemned the Israeli entity for its abysmal treatment of Palestinians.
By Yuram Abdullah Weiler
“Our weapon is positive reasoning, truth and good conduct. Guns are for the reckless and foolhardy .”
—Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky
On Quds Day, Nigerian Muslims joined in protest with fellow Muslims around the world against the ongoing Zionist occupation of Palestinian lands and the systematic oppression of the rights of Palestinians. But the Shi’a Muslims of Nigeria also protested the ongoing detention of their beloved spiritual guide and founder of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim Yacoub Zakzaky, who has been held without charges for over 600 days.
Viewed as a threat by Nigerian authorities for his unshakeable stand for social justice and human rights, Sheikh Zakzaky was detained by Nigerian armed forces in December of 2015 following a massive raid on his residence in Zaria, which resulted in the massacre of his three remaining sons and hundreds of his followers. “Mass slaughter of hundreds of men, women and children by soldiers in Zaria and the attempted cover-up of this crime demonstrates an utter contempt for human life and accountability,” wrote Amnesty International regarding the conduct of the Nigerian army during the bloody raid.
Describing the three-day long siege on Sheikh Zakzaky’s compound in Zaria, chemical engineering graduate and follower Abdullah Mohammed said, “I was in Zakzaky’s house by the gate when they came to attack us on December 12, 2015.” According to Mohammad, the soldiers did not even know why they were ordered to shoot to kill. But they did and in the maelstrom that followed, “An 18-month-old baby in the house was shot in the stomach.” In the aftermath of the slaughter another witness testified “I have never seen so many dead bodies.”
Most likely, the Nigerian government is fearful of Sheikh Zakzaky due to his strong following among Nigerian Muslims and his call for Islamic government in Nigeria that would parallel the government of Iran. “The relationship between Iran and the Islamic Movement in Nigeria can be compared to the relationship between Ayatollah Khomeini and Sheikh Zakzaky,” Mohammed explained. “[Imam] Khomeini rose up and started calling for justice. In Nigeria, Sheikh Zakzaky is also calling for justice,” he added.
The army of Nigeria claimed that it followed the rules of engagement during the 3-day bloodbath at Zaria. Yet in a letter to the Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba Judicial Commission of Inquiry, Professor Dahiru Yahya of Bayero University in Kano, Nigeria pointed out that “not a single Nigerian soldier lost his life or incurred any injuries.” Furthermore, Prof. Yahya wrote that the Nigerian army itself conceded that the IMN members did not have a single gun. So rather than fighting “a state within a state,” as Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari insisted, this was a clear-cut massacre by “armed Nigerian soldiers killing hundreds of unarmed fellow civilians.”
Sheikh Zakzaky has spoken out against the injustices perpetrated by the United States and has accused Washington of spreading discord among Muslims, and has condemned the Israeli entity for its abysmal treatment of Palestinians. In an interview in 2004, Sheikh Zakzaky, referring to the U.S. and its Zionist ally, said, “Recent events in Iraq showed it clearly, despite the fact that they tried to brush it aside, the humiliation of prisoners in Abu Guraib Prison showed clearly that they were actually at war with Islam and Muslims.” Continuing his caustic criticism, he said, “I don’t think the war in Iraq in anyway benefits the people of the United States, if there is any beneficiary, it is the international Jewry, the Zionists who formed the state of Israel who are dreaming of having a greater Israel.”
In a 2012 interview with BBC, Sheikh Zakzaky stated that Boko Haram was a creation of the “oil-hungry west,” since the terrorist group expanded exponentially due to a massive influx of personnel and arms from Libya after the French-led, U.S.-backed NATO regime change project.
Such sharp criticism has led one U.S. pundit to suggest that Sheikh Zakzaky’s IMN may be an “Iranian-trained cell” created for the purpose of “striking U.S. and Israeli interests in the case of an asymmetric war.” For these reasons, it seems highly probable that the Washington and Tel Aviv regimes are behind the incarceration incommunicado of the firebrand Muslim leader.
Of course, if the U.S. and the Israeli entity both approve of the indefinite detention of Sheikh Zakzaky, this would go a long way in explaining the deafening silence of the western media. While Amnesty International has called upon the Nigerian government to release Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife, Malama Zeenah Ibrahim, authorities have yet to comply due in part to the lack of interest in the case on the art of the “international community.” The Nigerian authorities have even disregarded the ruling of their own Federal High Court in Abuja, which ruled on December 2, 2016 that the Zakzakys must be released by January 16, 2017.
Sheikh Zakzaky has even filed a lawsuit accusing the Nigerian army, the army Chief of Staff and two others of violating his fundamental human rights, destroying his headquarters in Zaria and murdering three of his children. Seeking 2 billion Niara (around $6.3 million) in damages, the suit was dismissed by a Federal High Court in the Nigerian state of Kaduna on July 6. Criticizing the court, the counsel to Sheikh Zakzaky, Femi Falana, said, “A government that goes to court every day to ask for justice cannot go there to justify disobedience to a court order; this is barbaric and primitive.”
Immediately following the dismissal by the court of Sheikh Zakzaky’s lawsuit, members of the Islamic Movement have gathered for a peaceful protest against the ruling.
Members of a pro-democracy group called “Concerned Nigerians” have even gone so far as to offer housing to Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife in order to refute the Nigerian government’s claims that the pair are in protective custody because “no Nigerian is willing to be a neighbor” to them. “We are willing and ready to accept ZakZaky as a neighbor,” insisted the members of the group. Furthermore, they warned that the world is paying attention to the Nigerian government’s human rights record, however, this does not seem to be the case, as previously noted.
Aware of the prolonged detention and violation of Sheikh Zakzaky’s rights, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei has called upon the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran to legally intervene in the case on behalf of Shi’a cleric. “The Judiciary branch ... should support oppressed figures and people of the world, like Sheikh Zakzaky,” declared the leader, “firmly declaring support or opposition so that it would be reflected throughout the world.”