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Friday, August 1, 2014

IN SUPPORT OF THE SHI’AH PROCESSION


Sheikh Zakzaky


Do I need to attach a caveat to this topic? Do I need to state that I am not an adherent of Shi’ism or that I do not pledge allegiance to the declarer of the Quds procession? I do not. Only someone new to my columns in this newspaper would need a caveat. What we are discussing today is beyond sectarian leanings; it pertains to, on the one hand, the plight of a people under an illegal Israeli occupation for decades, and who are now shelled by Israeli troops from air and land, killing more than a thousand of them while destroying their homes. On the other hand, it pertains to the foolhardiness of some armed servicemen (or whoever gave the orders) in shooting and extra- judicially killing largely unarmed Shi’ah protesters in Zaria. No one needs to be reminded that it was the murder of Muhammad Yusuf, in similar circumstances, that led us to where we are today with Boko Haram.

The Palestinian issue is fraught with hypocrisy and betrayal. Israel is claiming to have the nod of some powerful Muslim and Arab nations in its aggression in Gaza. That claim seems to be valid in light of the deafening silence from the most powerful Arab countries since the latest pogrom began. In fact, if you check http://www.opposingviews.com/i/politics/arab-countries-stay-silent-death-toll-climbs-gaza for example, some observers cited examples of countries who traditionally opposed Israel’s aggression and murder in the past but who have somehow remained mute even with the current Israeli shelling of Gaza.

The Rafah Border is closed by the Egyptian authorities, thus hardly will any medical or material help reach the injured. General Sisi is doing Israel’s job better than the IDF and Mossad. Those people who supported the coup against Morsi with billions of dollars cannot be the friends of Palestine.

Even the leadership of the Inviolable Places of Worship are not spared in this allegation. Why will the imams cry in supplications during Khatmah and Taraaweeh on the plight of Palestinians, but will not speak truth to power?

I refuse to weep during such du’aa sessions, not because I do not earn sins over which I should cry, but because I could not understand why Allah is called upon to destroy the enemies of the Palestinian people, when the suppliant knows that the government he serves (and concerning which he is silent) is as guilty of the murders, and that they hate ‘Islamic organisations’ like the Muslim Brotherhood forming governments in the Arab region while supporting Israeli agendas through people like Sisi. The greatest Jihad is to speak the truth in front of a tyrant; what are these people waiting for? A revelation to that effect?

Here in Nigeria, there is no Khutbah on this issue from most of our imams. At a time like this, they are busy honouring Presidential Iftaar invitations. I doubt whether anyone among them drew the attention of His Excellency to plight of the Ummah and what the government should be doing on insurgency and other issues of insecurity in the country.

I have read accounts of the event of Friday, 25th of July, during which Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky lost three sons to Army bullets. I have also listened to accounts of the incidence from eyewitnesses. Whichever way you want to look at it, somebody with weapons went beyond the call of duty and broke the rules of engagement of the Army by firing at mostly unarmed people. I say mostly unarmed because from some of the information I gathered, some of the Shi’ites were armed with bows and arrows. I also gathered that what probably triggered the bloodbath was the way the procession blocked the road, which left the soldiers on an assignment stranded. When the soldiers demanded that they be let through, a melee ensued.

Sheikh Zakzaky earns my respect for his restraint in face of provocation on this issue. You only need to lose a child to the cold hands of death to understand a father’s anguish. He lost not just three grown sons, he lost many followers too.
My condolences to him.

The Nigerian government has a duty to investigate the killings transparently. We are tired of committees; there are already organs of government saddled with the duty of investigating human rights violations; let them do their jobs. If people are found guilty, let justice take its course. Where no misdemeanour is recorded against the military, let the world know the Army did the right thing and let all see that probity and fairness dictated the conclusions not tribe, religion or political affiliation. Anything short of that is a disaster. The government would have thus given the extremists another excuse to murder more innocent people in the name of revenge.

It has been 35 years since the Shi’ites started the Muzaaharah (demonstration) in Nigeria (Zaria being their main base). Not once did this sort of brazen murder happen. As I stated earlier, the Shi’ites are on their own; I owe them no allegiance but even a pagan has a right to justice in Islam, not to talk of people who are largely Muslims. Only a small fraction of them have unIslamic ideologies.

All said, the procession of the Shi’ites has to do with the murderous occupation of Quds, not exactly the shelling of Gaza. Iran, the nation to which Shi’ites worldwide look for guidance has remained mute on the killings. Palestine has a Sunni government, Hezbollah is a Shi’ite group, so it is quite convenient to be silent. The demonstrations thus merely coincided with a period that has seen the death of hundreds of women and children at the hands of the Israeli Defence Front (IDF).

There is nothing more hypocritical than what the world press is doing with the reportage of Israel’s atrocities. The worst of them are the leading media houses in Nigeria and beyond. They give the picture of a harmless Israeli people being attacked by a terrorist Hamas group. Nothing can be further from the truth!

Do yourself a favour and google the name ‘George Galloway’, a British MP who has been very vocal about the atrocities Israel is committing in Gaza. While at it search for Noam Chomsky and John Pilger too. Also search for such Facebook pages like “If Only Americans Knew”, “Jews United Against the Occupation of Gaza” and other pages which share information about the beginning of the occupation of Palestine, the current massacres and why these actions are wrong. As someone pointed out, you do not have to be a Muslim to stand up for Gaza, you only need to be human.

On the Muslim side, many do not know that there are daily protests in major European cities for Gaza in front of Israeli embassies there. The protesters are mostly Jews and Christians who believe in standing on the side of truth.

On the Christian side, there are hundreds of thousands of Christians who are protesting the on-going genocide cum ethnic cleansing. The internet is replete with blog sites, websites, Facebook pages and Twitter handles dedicated to this issue.

There are, of course, the bigots and uninformed who seem to think it is Israel’s divine right to steal land belonging to others and keep supporting Israel’s genocide. They wrongly assume that the Palestinians are only Muslims. Little do they know that the idea of Zionism has nothing to do with religion. It is a supremacist ideology propounded by atheist Jews in the early 1900s. When people do not equip themselves with information and knowledge, they run the risk of being seen as idiots.

Benjamin Netanyahu shocked US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton recently when she visited Jerusalem. She had expressed US concerns over the largely civilian casualties in the offensive on Gaza. Netanyahu said Israel did not share that concern at all and that what they prefer, in fact, was to “maximise civilian casualties”. He said they are conducting “surgical strikes” on schools, mosques, hospitals and children! He said further that he believed Clinton understood that very well but in the event that she did not, they owed neither the US nor anyone any explanation. Abruptly, he turned to the shocked Clinton and shook her hands saying, ‘Welcome to Jerusalem!’

This is the mind-set of the murderers. Qaatalahumullah!




2 comments :

  1. Thank you Ustaz Abubakar. You are absolutely spot on about; "Here in Nigeria, there is no Khutbah on this issue from most of our imams. At a time like this, they are busy honouring Presidential Iftaar invitations." In a popular mosque in Kaduna we went three good nights of Tahajjud witr supplications without even a mentioned of oppressed people, talk less of the Palestinians. I had to pass on a note to the Imams to awaken them about Gaza. Meanwhile they took a disproportionate share of the supplication period in fervently seeking Allah to send down all the goodies under the Sun on all the Imams in Kaduna! Finally, I wish to see the leading Shia writers come out courageously like you did on the side of truth during these grim phases of our jouney. They were so deafeningly silent when Sheikh Jaafar and Sheikh Albany were assasinated. Infact some of them privately celebrated these gruesome murders as evident in the very nasty and unpalatable comments we read in the social media in denigration of the dead. We hope this unfortunate incident will serve as a sobering moment for them to embrace Islam and Sunni Muslims fully as brothers in the journey towards Allah and stop the destructive habit of abusing the holy prophet's wives and his noble companions

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  2. Brother Aminu, you are right. I concur. If we are silent on aggression against the other, or we rejoice their demise, the vicissitudes of life are sure to make us experience both in a similar or even worse situation sooner rather than later. Only a fool will be so blind as to support an aggressor or celebrate the death of a perceived adversary....

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